Stevens brings administrative experience to Ogden deanship

Joanna Williams

Cheryl Stevens, currently associate dean of Scholarship and chemistry department chair at Xavier University of Louisiana, was named the new dean of Ogden College of Science and Engineering last week. 

Her selection comes on the heels of a search that lasted more than three months, starting when the current Ogden dean, Blaine Ferrell, announced his retirement in April. 

David Lee, dean of Potter College of Arts and Letters and head of the Ogden search committee, said Stevens brings with her a “strong package.” 

Stevens’ interpersonal skills, record in research grants and being student-orientated, as well as her administrative experience, all factored into her being selected as the new dean, Lee said.

“I think Ogden College has a long history of science and achievement and I think she will build very skillfully on the foundation Blaine has laid,” Lee said.

Stevens was not one of the original four finalists for the position and was selected as a finalist after former candidate George Miller withdrew from the race.

“It all seemed to turn out very well,” Lee said with a laugh.

Gordon Emslie, provost and vice-president for Academic Affairs, said the decision was not the “easiest” but he feels comfortable with his selection.

“I feel good,” Emslie said. “I think the committee did well. I feel very pleased with the way the search went.”

Ferrell, who will enter transitional retirement at the end of December, was not involved in the search, but said he hopes to see the college continue to grow and have its quality of education continue to improve. 

“Ten years is long enough for me,” Ferrell said. “I’m more of a sprinter, and I’ve been here for 34 years and I think it’s the right time. And I think the college and faculty need new energy.”

Stevens brings with her a strong record in securing grant funding. According to the WKU press release announcing her selection, Stevens has been involved in more than $18 million in grant-funded projects since 1984.

Stevens first joined Xavier’s faculty in 1982 as a member of the chemistry faculty and in 2005 became chair of the chemistry department. In 2009, she was named associate dean of Scholarship.

She also works as an adjunct professor at the University of New Orleans and the Tulane University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans.

Stevens is slated to start on Jan. 23, 2012.