Eric Reed named interim dean of Graduate School

Eric Reed, former history department faculty member at WKU, is currently transitioning into interim dean of the Graduate School. Reed says he is excited for a greater interaction with graduate and international students. Alyse Young/HERALD

Samantha Wright

A new face will be taking over the responsibilities of the Graduate School. 

Eric Reed, former history department faculty member, was named the interim dean of the graduate school. He will serve from Nov. 1 of this year until June 30, 2016.

David Lee, provost and vice president of Academic Affairs, announced Reed’s appointment in an email to faculty and staff on Oct. 2. 

Reed, who was recently promoted to the rank of professor, has served as the history department’s graduate adviser and in various capacities for different councils and committees.

Reed currently serves on the graduate council as well as the university budget committee and the provost’s budget advisory council. 

“Eric has had considerable involvement in graduate matters as well as faculty governance over the years, and he’ll bring a valuable perspective to this role,” Lee said in the email to faculty and staff. 

Lee said in an email interview that he considered seven or eight people before he offered the position to Reed. 

He added that Reed has substantial experience with graduate education.

“Eric is a talented teacher and scholar who has considerable experience with graduate education at WKU,” he said. “He has taken an active role in faculty governance, and he enjoys an excellent reputation across campus.”

Carl Fox, the current graduate dean, will continue to serve as graduate dean until he leaves for his new position at the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater. Fox is set to finish at WKU on Oct. 31. 

A search for a new graduate dean will be conducted during the spring term.

Robert Dietle, the head of the history department, said he was pleased when he heard Reed was named as interim dean.

“I was very pleased. I thought it was a good choice,” he said. “Eric is widely liked and respected across campus.”

He added that Reed’s experience in graduate work as well as a faculty member will be helpful.

“None of it will be brand new at all,” Dietle said. “He will also bring a faculty perspective that has been missing recently.”  

Reed said in an email interview he hopes to help graduate education work smoothly and improve the way everyone works together.

“I’ll focus on improving the way that the graduate school and the rest of the university work together to solve common problems,” Reed said. “My hope is that when the permanent dean is appointed, he or she will have a soft landing in the job.”

He also said he believes his experience with graduate work will aid him in this position.

“I’ve spent a lot of time teaching and mentoring graduate students and enjoy seeing them succeed,” Reed said. “I’m hoping these experiences and perspectives will be a foundation for me to be effective in the short time I’ll be in the job.”

Reed said while he is nervous, he is also excited about this new opportunity. 

“I am nervous and have a lot to learn,” he said. “I’m excited to tackle a new challenge though.”