Health science dean candidate visits faculty Jan. 19

Chloe Phillips

Health Science dean candidate Tim Laurent proposes to faculty why he is a good fit for Gunn College of Health Sciences and Human Services on Friday, Jan. 19, 2018. Photo by Chloe Phillips

Light chatter from faculty members filled the Dillard lecture hall. A man in a navy suit stood by the podium with a remote in his hand, waiting to start his presentation.

Tim Laurent, who has gone through the path of athletic trainer, faculty member, and administrator for 25 years, wants to become the next dean for the Gunn College of Health Sciences and Human Services.

“I was very impressed with Midwestern State University as an entity and I was also impressed with the Gunn College. Not all schools plan, communicate and share as openly as what I could find,” Laurent said. “For the presentation that you saw, most of the information was what I could get from looking. That was important because that shows me that the institution is interested in planning, interested in sharing and, therefore, can continue to offer quality education.”

Kathleen Williamson, chair of the Williamson School of Nursing, said they are looking for someone with experience, opportunities for growth and shares the same vision the health science department to help grow the program.

“[Laurent] can articulate the mission of the university, how he has experience and a vision to see how that can be utilized and forward thinking, not just growth but to live the mission to put it into action,” Williamson said.

Jessyca Wagner, assistant professor of radiologic sciences, said she agrees with Williamson, saying that Laurent would be a great fit for Gunn College.

“I think that the experience that he has, that he’s bringing in to our college, being that he is outside and not familiar with everything, will be a nice fresh perspective. I think that Laurent is willing to work for things that way we would like to have to grow our college,” Wagner said.

Laurent said he believes that he’s a good candidate by connecting his background to challenges the institution has and in high education in general, calling it a “very practical approach that works.” He gave an example of an institution that was not, in his opinion, practical by developing a 17 step assessment plan.

“They were trying to be so perfect with every little increment,” Laurent said. “Well, the bottom line is that they did nothing because it was this big task that, on paper, looked good and they didn’t do anything.”

However, there are some concerns from faculty when it comes to retention. Because of small class offerings, students in the health sciences department are being sent to junior colleges to finish their core.

“It’s a problem for us, because we’re losing money in our department, we’re losing money in our university and our students and faculty,” Wagner said. “Our students get frustrated because our students want to be apart of our program because of our reputation and good faculty, but for their core to be able to graduate, we’re saying you have to go somewhere else and that’s frustrating. ”

While there are concerns from faculty on retention, Laurent stated that there is not a clear-cut answer to this problem.

“Someone who is leaving because their boyfriend or girlfriend – I don’t think we could do anything about that, but what we have to do is be as clean with what we’re offering as possible. So that’s not just another year. Some of the that frustration has to do with students that you heard from. The students and faculty that need a course and we’re not offering it. In my mind, that just gives students an excuse and I want to take those excuses away. In order to do that, we have to do the best job we can to make sure what we have is what are giving students.”