McDaniel welcomes Wooster professor as college's new provost

Falkner wants to increase study-abroad options and diversity of faculty

March 04, 2004|By Hanah Cho | Hanah Cho,SUN STAFF

McDaniel College's new provost, Thomas Falkner, wants to increase faculty diversity, create more study-abroad opportunities for students and play a role in the college's review of its general education curriculum in the coming years.

The three goals are just the beginning for Falkner, who becomes McDaniel's chief academic officer in July. Falkner, whose appointment as provost and dean of the faculty was announced Tuesday, replaces Sam Case, who is retiring June 30.

"Dr. Falkner comes to us highly recommended as an enthusiastic advocate of the liberal arts, as a dedicated teacher and a learned scholar, and as an accomplished administrator," said McDaniel College President Joan Develin Coley. "His colleagues praise his energy, intelligence and humanity. We're thrilled to welcome him to the Hill."

Falkner, 56, is a professor of classical studies at the College of Wooster in Ohio, specializing in Greek tragedy, Greek and Latin literature. For 10 years, Falkner also served as the dean of the faculty and acting vice president for academic affairs at the Ohio institution.

A search committee, made up of McDaniel professors and administrators, narrowed a pool of 86 applicants to four finalists, who went through a two-day interview process. The committee, with assistance from a national search company, also sought information from students and other faculty members.

Skip Fennell, a professor of education and a member of the search committee, said Falkner stood out among the finalists because of his enthusiasm and willingness to push some academics issues, including international education.

In recommending the provost candidate, Fennell said he kept in mind one quality: "somebody saying, `Make sure we get someone we can respect.' In Tom Falkner, we have that."

On Tuesday, Falkner arrived on the Westminster campus to meet students, faculty, staff and administrators at a welcoming reception. Following a tradition for new students, three students rang in Falkner at the college's Old Main Bell, signaling his arrival on campus.

Once he assumes his new job, Falkner said he wants to assist in the college's review of its general education curriculum, which is in the preliminary stages. At the College of Wooster, Falkner helped revise general education requirements for the school's undergraduate students.

"What was most rewarding about that was the way in which the faculty reinvested themselves in the curriculum," Falkner said. "I look forward to supporting [McDaniel's] effort."

Also on a list of goals for the new provost is hiring more minority professors and faculty members, and developing further international studies and study abroad opportunities for students. Falkner, who graduated from Le Moyne College in Syracuse, N.Y., studied at the American Academy in Rome before earning his master's and doctorate degrees in classics at the State University of New York in Buffalo.

On top of that, Falkner said he wants to "shine the light more brightly" on McDaniel, formerly known as Western Maryland College.

"I'm excited by what I sense to be new energies and determination on the part of McDaniel to win its fair share of regional and national attention," Falkner said. "McDaniel is an outstanding college that needs to be more widely known than it is."

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