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SPOTLIGHT

'Dean for a Year' anticipates
Hawaiian shirt return

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - David Valentine, interim dean of Slippery Rock University's College of Business, Information and Social Sciences, is counting the days until he can again bring out the closet full of colorful Hawaiian shirts he is famous for wearing.

The comfortable, often vibrant, shirts have been in storage for the past year as he served in the dean's role. "Being a interim dean meant having to wear a suit and tie, but that is about over. I look forward to becoming more casual. I look forward to putting my Hawaiian shirts on and hanging the suits up," he said.

Valentine, who served as chair of SRU's computer science department, prior to his selection as interim dean, said he enjoyed the experience. "I enjoyed the year very much. My respect for our leadership team on campus went way up. Bob Smith, Bill Williams, Charles Curry - I think we, as in institution, are very well situated for the current fiscal crisis."

He said highlights during his deanship include the University's national search for a new dean. "We have really selected a good guy for the post."

Kurt Schimmel, associated dean of the school of Business at Robert Morris University, will take the reins from Valentine July 1.

"Dean [Susan] Hannam did a fabulous job of leading the search committee. We had four very strong candidates visit campus. Dr. Schimmel will do well," Valentine said. Hannam is SRU's dean of the College of Health, Environment and Science and chaired the search
committee to replace Bruce Russell who retired in 2010.

VALENTINE

Valentine, who has been teaching since 1981, said he found "the experience of seeing the University operated as a business a very educational opportunity. It was often interesting to see management's concerns, from a wholly different perspective from a faculty one. I think that has enriched my understanding of the institution."

"The institution as a business with the contractual, legal, financial obligations and issues that have to be addressed and handled professionally, and that I have never had to concern myself with previously, was eye-opening," he said.

Valentine suggested every faculty member rotate through a position as chair of their academic department and as a member of management. "I think that would bring about a greater appreciation of what the other 'bloak' does," he said in humor.

Among the accomplishments during his tenure, Valentine, who joined the SRU computer science faculty in 2001, said, "I was able to help some very energetic and productive faculty travel to some important conferences while serving as dean. That always feels good."

"Among the items I helped move along was the new Sustainability Club headed by John Golden and Rhonda Clark. They started this year; they had their Brown Bag Lunch; they handed out these lovely green reusable totes; they brought in a half-dozen outside speakers; and other projects. It was a fine first-year effort," he said.

Golden and Clark are instructors in SRU's School of Business.

Another positive aspect of his year as interim dean was, "Reviewing the performance packets, the evaluation packets, along with the probation and tenure packets. I am impressed with the quality of our faculty. We have people doing some really solid and exciting things," Valentine said. "The provost took it easy on me; the department chairs took it easy on me...so the new guy is going to get it," he said.

"Business School accreditation will be the top priority for the new dean," Valentine said. "Laying out the unified plan for the future of the professional studies department and, of course, dealing with the budget, will certainly occupy his time."

Valentine is looking forward "to returning to the computer science department as a faculty member with a course load of four classes. I will be spending some time this summer preparing for those classes, including how to incorporate some aspects of the recent Intel Grant I received, because my computer architecture class in the fall is a target for that grant. My passion is clearly in the classroom," he said.

The Intel Academic Community recently granted him a $1,5000 micro-grant.

Ultimately, he expects to publish material from the project on the Academic Communities Educational Exchange so that computer science educators can use in their undergraduate courses.

Valentine said he had no major travel plans for the summer, but will enjoy the weather, and of course, his Hawaiian shirt collection.