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August 30, 2013

SUNY Oneonta plans academic overhaul

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Development of the five-school plan was based on recommendations of a consultant hired by the college to assess its divisional structure, the findings of the college’s Organizational Structure Task Force report and advice from faculty across academic disciplines, the release said. Searches for the five deans were launched in November, and three founding deans joined the college this summer.

The local United University Professions met with the dean candidates though it didn't make any recommendations on applicants, union chapter president William Simons said Wednesday. Meeting with the candidates established with them that the campus is unionized, he said.

"We have new deans — we wish them well,” Simons, a history professor, said. “We want the success of the school.”

Regarding the restructuring, Simons said, UUP generally is concerned about the potential that resources might be spent on an enlarged administration, and to meet the costs incurred to support it, instead of reaching students in the classroom.

“Resources are always finite,” he said.

SUNY Oneonta spokesman Hal Legg didn't return a call and email by 9 p.m. Wednesday seeking comment about costs and impact of the reorganization on student instruction.

The newly appointed deans, who will be introduced at Friday's breakfast meeting, are:

• Venkat Sharma, dean of the School of Natural and Mathematical Sciences, joined the college July 8. Sharma recently served as dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at the University of West Alabama in Livingston.

Sharma earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry/microbiology from the Cancer Institute at the University of Madras, in Madras, India. 

• Susan Turell, dean of the School of Social Science, joined the college Aug. 5. Turell came to SUNY Oneonta from Clarion University of Pennsylvania, where she served as associate provost. Turell earned a Ph.D. in counseling psychology from the University of Houston in 1992.

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