Oct 15, 2019

Smittcamp Honors college seeks new director for program

Courtesy of Smittcamp Family Honors College

After 42 years as part of Fresno State faculty and 10 years as the director of the Smittcamp Honors College, Stephen Rodemeyer, Ph.D., announced his retirement earlier this semester.

Having only been in existence for 10 years, it seems that the Honors College couldn’t be what it is today without the hard work and dedication of Rodemeyer, or D-Rod, as students lovingly call him.

“As a faculty member and as director, I will miss the interaction with students,” Rodemeyer said.

“[But] I felt it was time.”

Although Rodemeyer will keep his position of director well into the summer, the spring semester will be dedicated to finding and training a new director for next year.

Search begins

On Feb. 6, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dennis Nef started calling for applicants for the directorship of the Honors College.

During this semester Nef will solicit applications, appoint a search committee and choose Rodemeyer’s successor.

“We anticipate applications due March 6 and then a selection made in late March,” Rodemeyer said.

The search committee will consist of faculty and staff from various departments who will review applications, decide which candidates to interview, conduct interviews and finally recommend to Nef which of the candidates they deem acceptable.

While there are many qualities that Nef and the committee will be looking for, some of the most important include: monitoring the budget of the Smittcamp Family Honors College, its facilities and staff members, as well as supervising the admission, advising and monitoring of Honors students.

The director is also in charge of building, overseeing and scheduling the Honors curriculum and coordinating articulation of courses and programs within the university and with other schools and universities.

“In addition to the managerial qualities, I will be looking for evidence of innovation, effective leadership and high quality teaching,” Nef said.

“Since the director is closely involved with the students on a daily basis and determines which faculty will be teaching the honors classes, he/she has the potential to make a significant difference, not only in their lives, but on the campus.”

The position of director is a 12-month position, that begins summer 2009, and provides from .5 to 1.0 FTE, or full time equivalent.

This FTE carries the expectation that the director will teach a course each semester in the Smittcamp Family Honors College or in his or her own department.

The director will also be evaluated annually and will hold that position at the pleasure of the provost.

Student opinions sought

Nef encourages honor students to get involved with the choosing of the new director and hopes that the experience may make the transition easier.

“We’re encouraging students to meet with candidates during their campus interviews and to provide their input to the search committee,” Nef said.

In his retirement message to students, Rodemeyer has also called for students to step up and be a part of the selection process.

“During the entire process we will need your help,” Rodemeyer said. “Encourage faculty to apply, participate in the process when asked, welcome the new person, help them with your names and do not compare them with me.”

Although Rodemeyer knows it may be a difficult transition for some students, especially those that have been in the honors program from the beginning, he feels that students should not compare the new director to him, but rather openly welcome whoever it is that takes his place.

“The new director will have different talents and a different background than I brought to the position,” Rodemeyer said.

“When a person has been the only one in a position, it is difficult to envision anyone else in that position — a person with great talent will be selected, not a D-Rod clone.”

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