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VSU finds interim dean for College of Mathematics and Sciences

Dr. James LaPlant, inaugural dean of the VSU’s new College of Humanities and Social Sciences, has taken on the added position of the College of Sciences and Mathematics, VSU’s other new college.

A dean was in place for the College of Sciences and Mathematics but made the decision to back out at the last minute. Dr. LaPlant stepped in on July 1 to fill the void.

“There were multiple options being considered,” he said. “I said, ‘however I can help out, I’m willing to serve’.”

Dr. LaPlant has taught Political Science at Valdosta State for over 20 years and served as the associate Dean for the College of Arts and Sciences.

While taking over as dean of two colleges seems like a huge task, Dr. LaPlant seems happy to be the one to take on the responsibility.

There is currently a search being conducted for a new dean. Dr. LaPlant, who’s chairing the search committee, hopes to find someone with great administrative experience in science and mathematics, excitement about coming to a university like VSU, and eagerness to help build research, graduation and retention rates.

Though those aspects are important to the search committee, LaPlant said what’s most important is finding someone who’s willing to meet with students in those colleges.

In fact, students even have a say in the process since because an upperclassman student is on the search committee for the new dean.

The committee hopes to interview candidates in October and have a new dean to take over the College of Sciences and Mathematics by January.

Last year, VSU made the decision to divide the mega-College of Arts and Sciences, which consisted of more than a dozen departments, into two smaller, more focused colleges.

Thus the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the College of Sciences and Mathematics were born.

According to Dr. LaPlant, the decision to have two separate colleges came from the university wanting a greater focus on things such as mission, undergraduate programming, and research along with many other aspects of education in its respective programs.

The decision also brought many mixed feelings among the faculty and staff of the college, but Dr. LaPlant saw it as a good move that would launch VSU on a “positive trajectory for the future.”

He sees this separation as a good idea for many reasons including his ideas for a community advisory board, better internships and career opportunities for the students in these colleges, and even hopes of fundraising and engaging current students.

“[With the two new colleges] students will have a better sense of connection to their college,” LaPlant said. “The key to success is the faculty, staff, and students.”

Written by Maria Sellers, Staff Writer. 

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