April 12, 2006

Education college dean finalists to visit campus

by K.C. Jaehnig

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Three candidates for the deanship of Southern Illinois University Carbondale's College of Education and Human Services will come to campus in April and will present in open forums their visions of education in the 21st century.

Sheying Chen, dean of the College of Professional Studies at the University of Guam in the Western Pacific, will visit April 13-14. His presentation will take place from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Thursday, April 13, in the Fourth Floor Video Lounge of the Student Center.

Randy J. Dunn, an SIUC professor in the Department of Educational Administration and Higher Education currently serving as Illinois state superintendent of education, will visit April 17-18. SIUC officials are still working out details for his presentation.

Tracy L. Cross, associate dean for graduate studies, research and assessment at Ball State University Teachers College in Muncie, Ind., will visit April 19-20. SIUC officials are still working out details for his presentation as well.

The presentations allow students, faculty, staff and anyone else with a stake in the college's future to assess the various dean candidates and what they have to offer. Evaluation forms will be available at each forum.

Here's a closer look at the candidates.

• Chen has been dean at Guam, a land-grant institution, since 2004. The College of Professional Studies comprises schools of business and public administration; education; and nursing, social work and health sciences. These schools were formerly independent colleges with a combined budget of more than $10 million. Chen oversaw their transformation into a single unit.

Chen's administrative experience includes a stint as chairman of the Department of Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work in the City University of New York's College of Staten Island.

He also has worked at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he earned a master's degree in social work and his doctorate, California State University, Zhongshan University in China, where he earned a master's in sociology, and the University of Hong Kong.

• Dunn, who will remain as superintendent for the Illinois State Board of Education through Jan. 31 of next year, previously served as chair of his department at SIUC, a position he took in 2000. A former teacher, principal and school superintendent, he joined the University in 1995 as an associate professor after a one-year stint as an assistant professor in the Department of Leadership at what was then Memphis State University.

In 2004, Dunn served as co-director of the Board of Education's $300,000 math and science partnership Title II grant and in 2002 to 2003 as project director for a U.S. Department of State $274,795 grant providing an American studies institute for foreign school educators in Samara, Russia.

A two-degree graduate of Illinois State University, Dunn earned his bachelor's in 1980 and his master's in 1983. He earned his doctorate from the University of Illinois in 1991.

• Cross, named George and Frances Ball Distinguished Professor of Gifted Studies at Ball State in 2000, became associate dean in 2005. His duties include program assessment, research coordination and grant administration. He also serves as director of the doctoral program in educational psychology and as executive director of Ball State's Center for Gifted Studies and Talent Development.

In addition, Cross' administrative experience includes a stint from 1997 to 2005 as executive director of the Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics and Humanities (a residential school run by Ball State for gifted teens) and the chairmanship of the university's educational psychology department.

In 2002, Cross and various colleagues brought in more than $4.2 million in federal grants, half of which targeted rural, low-income students.

Cross previously taught at the University of Wyoming, Louisiana Tech University and Tusculum College.

A University of Tennessee alumnus, he earned his bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees there in 1982, 1983 and 1988 respectively. He also has a specialist in education degree from UT, earned in 1984.

Providing assertive and deliberative leadership is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint the University is following as it approaches its 150th anniversary in 2019.