Three Amarillo College faculty members were named to new division and department positions Thursday.
Dr. Claudie Biggers, associate professor and program director/coordinator of biological sciences, was named chair of the new stand-alone biology department.
“Biology is a very large, significant department and they needed a department chair,” said Dr. Paul Matney, AC president.
Dr. Kathy Wetzel, professor and department chair of mathematics and engineering, and Dr. Dan Ferguson, associate professor and department chair of English, were named assistant deans to Jerry Moller, dean of Arts and Sciences.
“They will work with Jerry to coordinate leadership and support of all the departments in Arts and Sciences,” said Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart, vice president of academic affairs.
Lowery-Hart said he spoke with Moller about the size of the division last year.
“We were asking him to take on a heavy burden that was unreasonable,” Lowery-Hart said.
Both Lowery-Hart and Matney said compared to other divisions, Arts and Sciences is much larger. Departments within the division include concentrations like fine arts, technical sciences and health sciences, Lowery-Hart said.
“We knew Mr. Moller, as goods as he is, and he’s very good, he’s worked his head off and he’ll continue to do that,” said Matney. “We just needed to get him some assistance.”
Lowery-Hart said the appointments came after Moller suggested the two new positions in the division and recommended Wetzel and Ferguson. Moller said both faculty members have been instrumental in several campus initiatives.
Ferguson assisted with the English course redesign and helped establish the Writer’s Corner, an outreach center where students can receive assistance with their papers and assignments.
Wetzel assisted with the completion of the math outreach center and, along with Biggers, the Science Enrichment Center. Both centers assist students who need help with math and science assignments and tutoring. Wetzel also served on the AC core curriculum re-design committee.
“I’ve worked with both of them for years now. They’ve been effective department chairs,” said Moller of Wetzel and Ferguson. “I’ve seen the significant contributions they have made to the institution beyond being department chairs.”
Moller said long-term plans include placing Ferguson over the arts portion of the division and Wetzel over the sciences portion. For now, he said, business will continue as usual for the division and the three will lead together.
It’s a chance for Ferguson and Wetzel to learn the division in-and-outs before any other organizational changes occur, said Moller, who has been an educator for over 40 years. It will ensure, he said, that when the time comes, they will be ready to lead the division without him.
“It may be six months, it may be a year, it may be a year and a half,” said Moller. “When I’m gone, I don’t want there to be any void.”