Final forum in search for Ogden Dean completed

Tyler Prochazka

The series of open forums for the search to fill the position of Ogden College of Science & Engineering dean concluded on Tuesday with the fourth and final forum, showcasing a candidate from New Orleans.

Cheryl Stevens is the chemistry department chair and associate dean for Scholarship at Xavier University.


Stevens said she has dealt with hectic periods during her time at Xavier. Before Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, she said, she became the chemistry chair and was responsible for dealing with the various problems the storm posed to the university.

“We lost a lot of faculty due to attrition and layoffs,” she said.

For Stevens, Ogden College has been successful in focusing on students, which she said is what attracted her to WKU.

While she said Ogden College has “incredible potential,” she also emphasized the need to offer as many research opportunities for students as is feasible, citing statistics that show undergraduate students are more likely to go on to graduate school if research opportunities had been available and utilized.

“You have to create a research culture so that students feel like ‘this is where I belong,’” Stevens said.

During the question and answer period, Stevens was asked how she would interact with the other deans and how she would make sure Ogden College has adequate funding.

“I’m really good for advocating in my area,” she said. “If there’s something there, I write the best justification for things we need and that I believe in.”

On how she would interact with the other deans she joked, “I can fight David. He’s a word guy,” in reference to David Lee, the dean of Potter College of Arts and Letters who is part of the Ogden dean search committee.

Patience is key in generating the necessary funding for projects within the college, she said.

Stevens was also asked how she would collaborate with the private sector. She replied that the main issue is that private sector internships are too sparse. Once she got a “better feel” of the area, she said she would push the private sector to make student internships more widely available.

Overall, Stevens said her hands-on approach and broad background “support” her credentials needed to become the dean.

The position for the dean of Ogden College opens Jan. 1, 2012.