CHHS dean search concluding

Lashana Harney

The current dean of the College of Health and Human Services, John Bonaguro, is stepping down.

Bonaguro worked as the dean for 12 years. He was the founding dean of the college and has watched it grow into the largest college at WKU. He said approximately one out of four students has a major in the college.

The search committee for the new dean, appointed by Gordon Emslie, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, is nearing the end of the search.

Cheryl Stevens, search committee member and dean of the Ogden College of Science & Engineering, said the search for the new dean resumed this summer after the initial search failed last semester.

Stevens said the entire campus is involved in the process of choosing a new dean, but Emslie ultimately makes the decision. 

Stevens said there was an open forum for each candidate where they could speak and present information to the faculty, staff and students. Afterward, faculty, staff and students could fill out an online evaluation form on each candidate.

“Input comes from everybody,” Stevens said. 

She said there are four candidates left in the process. The interviews ended on Nov. 21. 

Stevens said the release of the final decision depends on Emslie, however it is expected before next semester.

“He is hoping to get it done pretty quick,” Stevens said. “I think he wants to make an announcement pretty soon.”

Stevens said the remaining candidates are all well qualified.

“We have a fantastic pool…” Stevens said. “We’re looking for somebody who is a good fit for us and we’re a good fit for them.”

Bonaguro said stepping down had always been part of his plan.

“Even last year, I was saying that I wanted to step down as dean,” he said.

Bonaguro agreed to stay up to another year following the failure of the first search.

Bonaguro said although he will miss the job and the people he worked with, he thinks getting new leadership is important.

“I’ve done what I can here,” he said. “I think it’s always good to have other opportunities for other people to take leadership roles.”

Bonaguro plans to take a sabbatical once he leaves.

“It’s the time for faculty or administrators like myself where you try to recharge, refocus and see what the next step will be for me,” he said.

Bonaguro said his sabbatical will last from July to December of 2015. Bonaguro will remain the dean until July while aiding his successor during the transition. 

“I plan to reflect, think, spend time the way I want to spend time and sort of map out the future with my wife,” he said.