By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer
The University of Toledo’s newest college finally has its first permanent dean.
Jerome Sullivan, interim dean of the college of health and human services, is being given the permanent post, the university said yesterday. “He’s an outstanding dean,” said UT President Dr. Vik Kapoor. “I’m very pleased with the leadership he has provided. He’s the best man for the job.”
Mr. Sullivan has been at UT since 1971, holding a variety of jobs in what was the department of health and human services. He was department chairman 19 years. He has received several national honors, including president of the 35,000-member American Association for Respiratory Care.
In April, 1999, the UT board of trustees made the department a full-fledged college, and Mr. Sullivan was named its interim dean.
But despite his experience, some have questioned his lack of academic credentials. Mr. Sullivan received his bachelor of arts from Ohio University in 1969, but he did not get a master’s degree until 1989, from UT. He has no PhD but is a candidate for the degree.
Traditionally, deans of academic colleges usually have a doctorate degree. At UT, all other deans have doctorates except law school Dean Philip Closius, who has the doctor of laws degree that would be expected of someone in his position.
“There are certainly people who are very troubled about that,” said Matthew Wikander, president of the UT chapter of the American Association of University Professors, which represents most UT faculty.
“The notion that a dean without a PhD would oversee the tenure and promotion process for people who have PhDs and have active research agendas, which is the case in health and human services, it’s caused some concern. I guess the senior administration doesn’t share that concern,” Dr. Wikander said.
Mr. Sullivan defended his candidacy. “I have a strong academic record over 30 years, and I don’t believe my not having the credential will affect my ability to do the job,” he said. He said he has completed the requirements for a doctorate in higher education administration except for his dissertation. He expects to complete that in about a year.
Others in the college and throughout the university rallied to support the new dean.
“It’s unbelievable how someone could be put down at this point in his career for that,” said Dr. Marion Boss, chairwoman of the criminal justice and social work department. “The major people in his college certainly support his appointment.”
“That doesn’t cause me a problem,” said Trustee James Tuschman, chairman of the board’s academic affairs committee. “I think the folks in the college of health and human services will rally around him.”
Dr. Kapoor said Mr. Sullivan’s time at UT has convinced him that he is qualified for the position. “He has more than 20 years of experience,” Dr. Kapoor said.
In a memo to faculty and staff, Provost Dr. Henry Moon said Mr. Sullivan is “known across campus as a student-oriented faculty member and as an experienced, successful administrator.”
Mr. Sullivan was one of two finalists for the position. The other was Dr. Rik D’Amato, a professor at the University of Northern Colorado.
The appointment means that for the first time in Dr. Kapoor’s presidency, most of UT’s nine academic dean positions are filled.
Interim deans run the colleges of business, education, arts and sciences, and university college. Dr. Kapoor expects to fill those posts in the next few months.