beth ingram

Campus Turnover: In and Out

beth ingram
Provost Beth Ingram said deans typically stick around for five years.

For two years at North Dakota State, deans in various disciplines have come and gone.

Between July 2012 and September 2014, no new deans started at NDSU. In the last two years, however, four have started.

While Provost Beth Ingram said “five years is the average tenure for a dean,” some deans have left sooner and for a variety of reasons — returning to faculty, retiring, accepting positions elsewhere or settling in the face of discrimination allegations.


Bridget Burke, dean of Libraries, began in September 2014 after the university settled with previous dean Michelle Reid following alleged discrimination. Reid was expected to be fired before reaching a settlement of $166,954 in 2014 and $125,000 in 2015. She continued pursuing her doctorate degree after the settlement.

Ingram said in an email Reid was named a university fellow; the university reported in spring 2010 that Reid was named a UCLA senior fellow.

Burke, meanwhile, is leaving for the University of Wyoming American Heritage Center where she will be director.

Reid was hired in June 2008.


The College of Business faced turmoil two years ago when 17 college faculty members submitted to the provost’s office a statement of no confidence in previous dean Ronald Johnson and associate dean Tim Peterson.

“To minimize further loss of college momentum and potential for retribution,” the statement ended, “we respectfully request that Dean Ronald D. Johnson and Associated Dean Tim O. Peterson be removed from their positions.”

Ingram said in an email Johnson returned to faculty. Interim dean Jane Schuh led the college since September 2014 during a time when it took two searches to produce person for the job.

Scott Beaulier of Arizona State University will begin the College of Business deanship June 1, Ingram said in an email.

“(It can be) hard to attract the person that you want because they need to fit the position at the point of time when they will start,” Ingram said.

The timing of the business dean search was “awkward with provost overturn,” Ingram said, as she began her position in July 2014. She added she “wanted to get to know the campus better” before selecting a new dean for the college.”

Beaulier was selected in early March.

Much of the turnover in deans Ingram said she couldn’t speak to in detailed specifics as the departures were before her time at NDSU.

Other colleges 

The College of Human Development and Education also required two searches, Ingram said in an email.

Margaret Fitzgerald began as the college’s dean March 1, Ingram added.

When a dean can start is often dependent on their situation, the provost said.

“Some begin working later than others due to personal and family reasons while others are able to start right away.”

Previous dean Virginia Clark Johnson retired in August 2015 after 22 years as dean.

Across campus, Maria-Claudia Tomany will start as dean of the College of Graduate and Interdisciplinary Studies on May 15, Ingram said.

Her predecessor David Wittrock return to faculty, the provost said, after 12 years. He is now teaching with the psychology department.


Finding a dean can be difficult, Ingram said, as “some fields draw lots of candidates, others not so much.”

However, 40 to 60 applicants typically apply for a position, though “half of these don’t meet minimum requirements,” Ingram added.

The 20 to 30 applicants are then whittled down to 10 candidates for phone and face-to-face interviews of about 90 minutes.

Then three to four candidates are brought to campus to meet with external stakeholders, their new potential college, President Dean Bresciani and Ingram.

From there, the final candidate is chosen.

Jack Dura contributed to this story. 

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