Israel leaving deanship after 13 years

Israel leaving deanship after 13 years

Courtesy of Guilford.edu

On Oct. 22, President Jane Fernandes announced that Adrienne Israel will be stepping down from her post as vice president for academic affairs and academic dean after 13 years.

“The decision to step down was one that I made several years ago,” said Israel. “I told our last president if he wanted to me to serve, I would, and I would help the next president make the transition.”

One of the earliest African-American faculty members hired by Guilford, Israel came to Guilford in 1981. She was the first African-American professor to receive tenure and the only African-American to become vice president and academic dean.

Israel spoke of Guilford’s future.

“I think one of the big challenges going forward is deciding whether we want to go to the next level of excellence, and are we going to pursue it sincerely,” said Israel. “Do we want to be well-known nationally for the excellence of our program, or do we want to stay a hidden jewel? We have to decide whether we want to be great or just good.”

Israel will remain academic dean until the end of the 2014 – 2015  academic  year and then return to her faculty position in the history department. She will also oversee the coming re-accreditation process by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Israel has led the school through the process in the past with extraordinary success.

“I expect we may have some challenges with our next report, and I thought that, since Adrienne already has all the information we need, she’d be in a good position to do that,” said Fernandes. “Because we have some financial challenges, I want to make sure that we meet all the accreditation standards, both required by the federal commission and by SACS, and I think she can be a big help doing that.”

The search for the next academic dean is currently in its conception phase as Fernandes meets with the faculty to determine what qualities they would like to see in Israel’s successor.

“I would like a really positive synergistic relationship with the new dean, somebody who makes the faculty feel more empowered about working here than we have recently,” said Dave Dobson, clerk of the faculty clerk and professor of geology and earth sciences. “I think it’s an opportunity to refresh, renew and move forward.

“I’m grateful for Adrienne’s wisdom and long service to the College, and I wish her the best with what she’s doing next. I’ve enjoyed working with her, but I’m also excited about who we turn up with in the next phase of Guilford’s story.”

Barbara Boyette, assistant academic dean for academic support, also voiced her hopes regarding Israel’s successor.

“(We need) someone who is a great time manager, with great communication skills, who can handle multiple problems at the same time while leading the college to do our very best work,” said Boyette. “This has to be a person who clearly has spent time in the classroom, knows what the issues are with teaching, someone who has leadership experience. Otherwise I think it would be a bit daunting.”