Third Ogden dean candidate takes part in open forum

Joanna Williams

The third open forum for the new dean of Ogden College of Science & Engineering took place this afternoon with Anthony Skjellum, professor and chair of the Department of Computer and Information Sciences at University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Skjellum outlined his several educational philosophies, which include faculty training students in their specialties and a heavy focus on entrepreneurship.

“Entrepeneurship is a natural outcome of sustained research,” Skjellum said. “I want to introduce entrepreneurship as a first-class form, whether it be a form of teaching, a form of service or a form of research.”

Research opportunities and workload balance were the focus of the majority of questions asked by faculty.

Skjellum said he believes research improves the university’s financial and public standing, and he wants there to be a balance of teaching and research.

“If you want to produce a lot of research with funding from the university, you can’t be teaching 80 percent (of the time),” he said.

Skjellum said although he wanted research to be a priority, he did not want to get to the point where teaching was an afterthought.

Even though the search committee wants to have the dean position filled for the beginning of the spring semester, Skjellum considered next semester to be a transitional period where there would be no sweeping changes.

“There are no emergencies or the current dean would have addressed them,” he said. “There is a learning process that begins immediately after hire.”

The original schedule for the search was planned to finish at the end of September. However, a candidate withdrew from the search, causing the process to continue into October.

David Lee, head of the search committee and dean of the Potter College of Arts and Letters, said he isn’t concerned about the search taking longer than the committee had originally planned.

“It will extend the process by a couple of weeks, but we’re still on a good timetable,” Lee said.

The fourth and final forum will be Oct. 11 with Cheryl Stevens from Xavier University. Stevens was added as a finalist after former candidate George Miller withdrew from the process.