College of Health and Human Services continues search for dean with second forum

Current professor and associate dean for research administration in College of Health and Human Services Vijay Golla listens to a question during a forum for the CHHS dean position.

Natasha Breu

The College of Health and Human Services hosted a forum for their ongoing search for a new dean after interim Dean Dennis George finishes his current term.

Vijay Golla, a professor and associate dean for research administration in CHHS, is the second candidate and received his master of Public Health from WKU in 2003 and his doctorate in Occupational and Environmental Health from the University of Iowa in 2007, according to his curriculum vitae.

Golla said the overarching focus of his possibilities as dean would be student success. He outlined several categories including recruitment, retention and advising. He said recruitment and retention have been challenges for WKU as a whole and he wants to personally engage students by offering opportunities to speak with him, such as hosting cookouts at his home.

He said faculty and staff have as much as a responsibility as advisors to recruit students.

“The impact faculty have on student recruitment is immense,” Golla said.

Additionally Golla said he wants students to complete a personal development plan. He said although it might change over the years, it’s important to work toward a goal.

Another important component to student success for him is having up to date technology.

“Technology has changed a lot in terms of learning and methodology,” Golla said.

Student research was also emphasized, and Golla suggested faculty include students in more research opportunities. He said “research to practice” is important because it is no use if it is not being used.

New initiatives he proposed for CHHS included a teaching mentoring and teaching incentive program and student wellness program including potential modules for nutrition, academic and financial stress and relationships.

Golla said he also wants to focus on leading his colleagues to be positive and productive in day-to-day operations and to be accountable and transparent with members of CHHS.

“I care about the people I work with,” Golla said. “I care about the people in the college.”

Golla’s research includes water toxins and health effects, pesticide exposure assessment in agricultural populations, hazardous material flow and risk assessment, occupational hearing loss among farmers, and exposure assessment of Green Tobacco Sickness.

The start date for the position is on or before July 2019, with possible flexibility to start as early as May 1, according to WKU’s website. The role of the dean is “responsible for planning, designing, implementing and evaluating academic programs and services offered by the College.” Duties include “collaborating with the university to implement change” and “lead strategic and long-range planning efforts.”

News reporter Natasha Breu can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected]. Follow Natasha on Twitter @nnbreu.