On August 1, Carol Lamb, Angela Spalsbury and Lenford Sutton officially began their new jobs as department chairs. All expressed an eagerness to accept their new managing responsibilities.
According to Youngstown State University’s Department Chair Handbook, the chair of a department is to provide departmental management while also fulfilling professorial duties. Lamb, director of the School of Engineering Technology, said the job can sometimes feel like a “tight rope.”
“You still are part of the faculty in some sense. When you leave the chair position when your term is up, you go back to being faculty,” Lamb said. “So [faculty members] are in some ways still colleagues and yet you are now [an administrator].”
Chair candidates are nominated by the colleagues in their department. Once the department choses their nominee, the president of the university officially appoints the candidate to the chair position.
Lamb was appointed Chair of the School of Engineering Technology after former chairman, David Kurtanich, passed away this July. Her appointment to the chair position is for this fall semester, and it is not yet definitive that Lamb will remain the department’s chairperson for an entire five-year term.
Lamb said if she remains chair, she wants to implement plans that will ensure the School of Engineering Technology’s future success.
“I would like to see this department obviously grow—prosper with more students. And continue the success we’ve had with our students getting jobs,” she said.
Spalsbury, the newly appointed chair of the Mathematics and Statistics Department, said she also has plans for her department. Spalsbury said her goal for this academic year is to solve current staffing issues.
“Our department is facing some major challenges in staffing. We have lost a few faculty members to retirement, etc and I expect we will lose another three members by the end of 2014 … One of the most important aspects of my job will be to make sure that these wonderful faculty members are replaced with equally valuable people,” Spalsbury said.
Spalsbury replaces former chair of the Mathematics and Statistics Department Nathan Ritchey who left Youngstown State University to serve as Edinboro University’s Dean of Science and Health Professions. Spalsbury said she’s excited to serve as department chair.
“I’m very excited about being chair of the department of mathematics and statistics! I think … that we have the best mathematics department in the state in terms of undergraduate mathematics education,” Spalsbury said. “It’s a very, very interesting job!”
Sutton, chair of the Educational Foundations, Research, Technology and Leadership department, deemed his appointment an opportunity.
“This is my first appointment as a department chair,” he said. “It’s an opportunity. Being a chair is kind of an altruistic venture for me, an opportunity to develop a program that can sustain itself into the future and something the university and the residents of the valley can be proud of.”
This is Sutton’s first year at YSU, and he will act as the Educational Foundations, Research Technology and Leadership department’s first stable chair in the past few years. He hopes the university and his department will work to attract students to YSU by providing a quality education.
“I am passionate about working with students and building positive relationships with faculty so we can get the job done,” Sutton said.