New dean intends for ‘college of excellence’

By Pauline Theeuws

Former Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dr. Jonathan Millen succeeded Dr. Patricia Mosto as dean of the college on July 1, and his vision for the school includes strengthening the student voice for the college.

Millen, who came to Rider as a professor in the department of communication and journalism in 1991, wants to hold onto his ability to interact with students by introducing a Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) student advisory group.

Millen envisions the group to consist of students, freshmen to seniors, within different majors. He wants to give a “student voice to the college” through unfiltered conversations about various academic topics. Although the level of formality and the frequency of meetings are still undetermined, Millen welcomes student input throughout the fall semester while the idea becomes reality.

Although he juggled teaching while being the associate dean and department chair during his career, Millen plans to focus exclusively on his new role.

“I am not planning on teaching any courses in the first year,” Millen said. “Once I have a better sense of the position, I will reassess for the following academic year.  I know I will miss working with students in the classroom, but I am not convinced that I will be able to give them my undivided attention while getting acclimated to my new responsibilities.”

Millen seems excited for his vision of the department’s future.

“My vision is for LAS to be a college of excellence:  excellent students learning from excellent faculty within excellent programs,” Millen said.

It is a vision he is confident can be accomplished with his team that welcomed two new members: Dr. Kelly Bidle, professor of biology and behavioral neuroscience, who has taken on the role of director of academics, and Eileen Gurwitz, the assistant dean of the college.

“They join Michele Figueroa, Theresa Lesko, Terri Marriott and Lauren Nicolosi; together we will be well-equipped to serve our students, faculty and the university as a whole,” Millen said.

Millen finished by sharing that, although he remains unsure of where this position will take him, for now all his attention is focused on his first five years in office.

“I would not be surprised if I were to end up retiring after this position nor would I be surprised if this position opens other windows of opportunity down the road,” Millen said.

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