Knox will enter uncharted territory on Sept. 1 when Knox Professor of History Michael Schneider becomes associate dean of the college. Not only will this be the first time the college has two associate deans, but also the first time a faculty member will regularly teach courses in addition to holding this part-time position.
The college announced Schneider’s appointment in early April. He will join current Associate Dean of the College Lori Haslem and Dean of the College Larry Breitborde, who will step down in June 2013 after 18 years in the position.
Schneider, who has been at Knox since 1992, anticipates a “juggling act.”
He is currently the co-director of the Stellyes Center for Global Studies (from which he will step down at the end of the school year), chair of the Asian Studies Program and co-chair of the Integrated International Studies program.
“As we talked about this position,” Schneider said, “we’ve envisioned it as somebody who is a half-time faculty member and a half-time associate dean.”
Breitborde said the addition of a second associate dean is something he has pondered since he first became a Knox administrator.
“If you go back at least 30 years, there’s only one office at this college that looks exactly the same, and that’s the Dean of the College’s office. I think it was time,” Breitborde said.
He added that he is confident in Schneider’s abilities to do the job.
“He’s one of the most respected members of the faculty. He’ll be just fine,” Breitborde said of Schneider, who received his B.S. in chemistry at Michigan State University in 1984 before earning an M.A. in Asian history and a Ph.D. in modern Japanese history at the University of Chicago.
“I can finally work on some things I’ve been interested in and haven’t been able to do because of Global Studies commitments,” Schneider said.
One of Schneider’s plans is already being implemented: examining the nature of the college’s advising system.
“I want to look at what we do in advising and help [decide] if it’s the one that’s appropriate for how we conceive of the Knox education,” Schneider, who will no longer be able to serve on faculty committees, said.
He plans to hold workshops for new advisers, implement ways for students to assess their advisers and search for other ways to determine if the system works for students.
Schneider also acknowledged that the new position might mean giving up his participation in noontime pickup basketball games.
“Not all administrators work on a lunchtime basketball schedule,” Schneider said, smiling.