As of this past July, Slippery Rock University hired a new Dean of Liberal Arts to head the department. Dr. Dan Bauer has had quite the extensive academic past, holding not only a Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Professional Communication, but also an M.A. in English as well as a B.A. in English and Economics.
Bauer said his career as a professor began in 1992, when he was a teaching assistant at New Mexico State University. From there, he began moving his way up to different higher-level positions at different colleges and universities, such as Keuka College in New York and Simpson College in Iowa. Then, Bauer journeyed to Georgia College & State University, where his career in the liberal arts began to flourish. It was from there that he acquired the position of Assistant/Associate Professor of English and Coordinator of the First-Year Writing Program.
He held tenure in this position from 2006 until 2013 when he was hired as the department chair and professor in the Department of Writing and Linguistics at Georgia Southern University. Bauer said this was one of thirty independent departments of writing in Georgia.
“Slippery Rock is doing everything right,” Bauer said of his decision to travel north to SRU from GSU. “Who wouldn’t want to come to Slippery Rock?”
Bauer also stated that Georgia Southern was “a little too big” for him.
He later touched on the fact that he believed it is important for a dean to work in the private sector as well as the public sector. He said he has worked in both a very large-scale research institute, such as GSU, as well as a much smaller college of 800 students, giving him a more well-rounded experience.
“This is a much more ‘Goldilocks,’ ‘just-right’ place,” Bauer said, referring to Slippery Rock. “SRU is one of the strongest in the system; it’s a good place to be right now.”
Bauer also said SRU’s combination of the academic and student affairs is visionary, novel, and brilliant.
“Virtually nobody is doing that,” he said.
Bauer remarked that the liberal studies program here at SRU is strong, but as education progresses, one of the changes that will be made is more integration between classes and across disciplines. He plans on making the liberal studies majors and classes more well-rounded and more interconnected with each other in order to make the degree acquired from SRU more desirable in the job market.
“Departments should always belong to faculty and students,” Bauer said of the changes coming to the Liberal Arts department. “I have a lot of experience with first-year programs and transitioning students to college. Our liberal studies program is being overhauled.”
Bauer said he was the perfect fit that the college needed to begin this course of action.
“Be open to surprise,” Bauer advised. “Be open to all the college has to offer. Embrace things that at first glance don’t seem relevant; the most educated people have ways of making everything relevant.”