The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences administrative staff recently added five members to its roster. With the new school year only a month away, the new staff is gearing up to lead their schools, departments and centers into a new year of academic excellence.
The college’s new additions include Matt Bell, the interim director for the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing and Matthew Delmont, the director for the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies (SHPRS).
Joining Bell and Delmont at ASU are Steven Neuberg as the chair of the Department of Psychology, Krista Ratcliffe as the chair of the Department of English and Kaye Reed as the director for the School of Human Evolution and Social Change.
“Wherever I’ve been in my career, I’ve always wanted to make sure that things work well and they function smoothly,” Delmont said of his reasoning for joining the administrative team. “I think it’s important that we treat each other with a high level of collegiality and professionalism.”
Delmont, who came to ASU in 2014 as a history professor from Scripps College, said he originally didn’t think he would become a professor, let alone a director.
However, after going back to school at Brown for American Studies and delving into his research on the civil rights movement, authoring three books and publishing several stories in respected publications such as The New York Times, he said he’s looking forward to promoting a school he believes in and sharing it’s work.
“I think we’re one of the best-kept secrets at ASU,” Delmont said. “I want to make sure that I’m up there as director putting our best foot forward to make sure everyone knows of the great work that is going on at SHPRS.”
Reed, who has already been in her position since December, said that when she started in the director position, there was a definite learning curve as she was going from professor at the school into this new position.
“(It’s) because I am personally now interfacing with the college and the administration in the college,” she said. “There are a lot of things that happen that you can only learn by doing.”
Some of the hings that she is focusing on are developing more study abroad programs and trying to build the school's research centers up so that they become more known outside of ASU.
She said that the staff has been helpful to her in this position and helped make the transition smoother so now she can focus on upcoming projects for the fall semester. She said Homecoming was one event she was really looking forward to.
“We are going to be inviting an alumni speaker and hopefully inviting alumni to events that we will be having,” Reed said. “I am identifying people right now.”
For Ratcliffe, who was contacted by ASU to see if she had interest in her now position, her decision to come to ASU from her a similar position at Purdue University was a welcomed opportunity for her to move to Phoenix.
“I thought well… I have friends that have been in Phoenix, I’ve been to the southwest several times and I love it out here, so it was an opportunity for professional and personal interests to coincide,” she said. “So I agreed to be interviewed and the rest is history.”
One of the things that Ratcliffe said she really loves is the idea of access and how to bring more people into higher education, including online education.
“There’s some bias about online education,” she said. “I think it can be done poorly or it can be done really well and when it’s done really well, I think it’s an important tool for enhancing access.”
While Ratcliffe and the educators all have things that they are excited to bring to their respective departments, her final words wrap up the feeling nicely.
“I think there are lots of exciting programs at the undergraduate level, the graduate level and the English department, and I’m just grateful to be a part of them now,” Ratcliffe said.
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