Professor and Chairman of History Mark Kalthoff will assume the dean of faculty position, and Chairman and Associate Professor of Chemistry Matthew Young will become the dean of natural sciences beginning in the 2019 – 2020 academic year.
Kalthoff will take over from current Dean of Faculty Daniel Coupland. This will be Kalthoff’s third term in the position; he served two terms previously from 2005 – 2009, after Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn asked him to stay for a second term.
As dean of faculty, Kalthoff will serve primarily as a middleman between the faculty and the administration.
“In the role in the past, I lost track how many times I was in the top floor of Moss Hall for meetings, either in the provost or the president’s office, because I was involved in conversations and learning about how the college works,” Kalthoff said. “As dean, it is your responsibility to represent the administration to the faculty and to represent the faculty to the administration. So you are neither fish nor fowl, but a little bit of both.”
Among the dean of faculty’s other responsibilities are leading faculty meetings and participating in sabbatical, summer leave, education policy, and nominating committees. He will also serve on Hillsdale’s hiring committee.
“There are only three people that every candidate for a job at Hillsdale interviews with: president, provost, and dean of faculty,” Kalthoff said. “I will get to have some voice in shaping the faculty hiring.”
As dean, Kalthoff said his main goal and measure of success will be to go primarily unnoticed.
“What do you see when you look at a duck on a smooth pond?” Kalthoff asked. “It looks like it’s just relaxing. On the surface, everything is smooth, but under the surface, he is paddling furiously. Often administrative jobs, certainly the president, the provost, and the deans’ jobs here, are a little like that. There is lots of stuff to do, but it can be different issue every day.”
After serving as chair of the chemistry department for three years, Young will also be stepping up the administrative ladder. He was nominated by the natural sciences division faculty and has accepted the position as dean of natural sciences. He will be taking over for Professor of Chemistry and Dean of Natural Sciences Christopher Van Orman, who filled the role for 13 years but is now replacing David Whalen as college provost.
“The position is somewhat intimidating in the sense that Dr. Van Orman’s shoes are big shoes to fill,” Young said. “He’s been the dean for quite a while. I don’t take that lightly. He’s an excellent example for me to try and follow.”
Despite his slight trepidation, Young said he is looking forward to taking on the position, especially because it will allow him to work with younger teachers and help them develop as faculty. One of his roles as dean will be to observe professors in the classroom and provide them with feedback and discussion.
“What I like to see is people with genuine concern for the students and genuine enthusiasm for their subject,” Young said. “This is something that we see a lot. Most cases getting a chance to work with other faculty is an inspirational activity.”
Young said one of the projects he is most excited about is the increasingly interdisciplinary nature of the science department.
“We had the president of Biologos come speak last semester, an event that facilitated conversation between science and other disciplines,” Young said. “This is something that I’m excited to continue to explore.”
Of his successor, Van Orman had only positive recommendations.
“Dr. Young has a great understanding of the role of science within the liberal arts, and he is a tremendous teacher who truly cares about the education of the students. His students describe him as an energetic professor who is fair but challenging,” Van Orman said in email. “He pushes them to learn the beauty of chemistry and how it integrates into their daily lives. Under his leadership, I’m confident that the science division will flourish.”