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Dr. LaPlant having smooth transition in double roles

With just over a week as interim dean of the college of Sciences and Mathematics, Dr. James LaPlant has had a smooth transition.

Dr. LaPlant, also the dean of the college of Humanities and Social Sciences, said that the changes have come easy with assistance from associate deans in both colleges.

“The position of dean across the two colleges is very similar,” Dr. LaPlant said after taking the interim dean position following former dean, Keith Walters, arrest. “We have excellent administrative teams in the two colleges from our associate deans to department heads to the directors of our college advising centers, which benefits me greatly on a daily basis.”

Dr. LaPlant was announced as interim dean on Feb. 11.

Since Walters, who remains on paid administrative leave, was stripped of his title as dean, it did not stop ongoing projects within the college of Sciences and Mathematics.

“In the College of Science and Mathematics, we are continuing our strategic initiatives on peer mentoring of students, developing experiential learning opportunities across our academic departments, expanding our outreach and connections with the community, and building the mentoring ties between faculty and students,” Dr. LaPlant said.

The college includes many departments such as biology, computer science, physics, astronomy, chemistry, engineering studies and others. The college was created in 2018 after the decision to split the College of Arts and Sciences into two colleges.

Robert Smith, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, is in charge of finding a new, full-time dean to replace Dr. LaPlant.

Smith has been contacted in regards to the ideal candidate, but there has been no response at this time.

Dr. LaPlant is expected to be in the interim dean role until later this year, as the new hire will be set to begin “sometime in 2021.” Dr. Theresa Grove, associate dean, works alongside Dr. LaPlant in the college to help assist in duties previously handled by Walters.

The university has not announced an exact date for the national search to begin.

Written by Prince Robinson Jr., Managing Editor. Photo courtesy of VSU Spectator.

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