Frank Boyd selected as new academic dean


Guilford College

Frank Boyd, new Academic Dean and Vice President for Academic Affairs will begin official duties on July 15. Boyd comes to Guilford from Illinois Wesleyan University, where he was an associate provost and Title IX coordinator.

After a search that lasted more than five months, Guilford College has selected Frank Boyd as the new Academic Dean and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

On April 18, President Jane Fernandes sent an open letter to the community sharing her choice. According to Fernandes’ letter, Boyd’s genuine “passion for liberal arts education and his impressive track record of astute, effective leadership make him an excellent fit for Guilford.”

Boyd currently serves as associate provost and Title IX coordinator at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, where he also teaches in the political science department.

“I’m delighted with Frank,” said Parag Budhecha, visiting assistant professor of English and creative writing, who served on the search committee. “I think he has a ton of experience with this kind of administrative work. He’s really, really smart. He’s … a national expert on faculty governance.”

Boyd was one of eight final candidates selected from a pool of almost 93 applicants. The search committee interviewed the eight finalists in person off campus.

Before Fernandes made the final hiring decision, Boyd was brought on campus along with three other applicants to meet with community members, including Beth Rushing, the interim academic dean and vice president for academic affairs.

But not everyone on the search committee was happy with the choice. Jeffrey Ray, vice president of student government, was the only CCE student on the search committee. He says he was asked to leave the committee after not being able to make a meeting early on and only rejoined the search once the four candidates were brought on campus.

“(I wondered) why were we hiring someone who was not a person of color or a female person … to represent this student body?” said Ray. “Most of the students I represent … are students of color, and they would much prefer having another person of color walking around on campus.”

Given that Boyd has already been chosen, Ray hopes Boyd will make an effort to be involved with a wide variety of groups on campus.

“My preference for him will be that he get involved with committees on campus, and not just the committees that are recommended to him,” said Ray.

Boyd will start his official duties on July 15.

“I’m most excited about joining a fantastic institution,” said Boyd in a phone interview. “Guilford has a real sense of itself and a real defined mission that the Guilford community recognizes.”

Boyd’s position is as a coordinator for faculty, but he is also eager to work with students.

At Illinois Wesleyan, he served as the Title IX coordinator. In this position, he worked closely with students in Pride Alliance to re-write the university’s sexual assault guidelines to make sure they were inclusive of students of all gender expressions. At Guilford, he hopes to continue finding ways to get student feedback in his new role.

“(At Guilford), I would hope I would be working with student leaders on issues of … curriculum and student learning,” said Boyd. “If I’m not teaching … I’m going to be looking for other opportunities to connect with students.”

This focus on connecting with members of the community was one of the things that most impressed Budhecha.

“I just get the sense from him that he wants to listen, (and) he wants to learn from everybody that’s here,” said Budhecha. “(His) primary objective is to be able to have conversations with groups of people and individuals and faculty and staff, and he seems really committed to understanding what the needs are of these various groups so that he can advocate more effectively for them.”

Boyd also brings experience in managing faculty salary budgets and hopes to help implement the College’s plan to ensure faculty are better compensated.

“My job, first and foremost, is to be advocating for the academic program and my faculty colleagues,” said Boyd.

Most of all, though, Boyd is looking forward to getting a sense of the College culture.

“Guilford’s unique, right?” said Budhecha. “Nobody is going to be able to step in and immediately understand us. But … he’s willing to do that work to understand the various groups’ needs.”