January 13, 2020

Interim A&S College Dean is looking to make a positive impact

By Matthew Keck —

After one week on the job, Arts & Sciences College interim Dean David Owen feels like he is already settled into his new position.

“I think she [Kempf-Leonard] left the college in solid shape,” said Owen. But this doesn’t mean there isn’t any work to be done. Owen shared his goals for his tenure Jan. 2, and one of them is keeping morale in a progressive state.

Kempf-Leonard focused on this during her five-year tenure. Owen said that although this area can be challenging, the place the College is in right now gives him a lot to work with and maintain this progress.

“They’re happy that we’re going to really do some intentional work on morale,” said Owen. “So I’m hearing feedback, positive feedback about that.”

He said he’s also fortunate that there hasn’t been any mention of budget cuts so far. “We don’t know yet exactly about [budget cuts], but everybody seems to be anticipating more or less a steady state budget, which is good news,” said Owen.

While keeping morale at a good place is a major priority, Owen wants to pass off the College to the next dean in a good place. “I need to be sure that I hand to the next dean a College that’s in as good shape as possible,” he said. “And that means having a good budget for next year.”

As the University of Louisville moves to a new budget model this year, Owen knows this is going to be a challenge he faces, but he is already praising his associate deans and staff for being helping hands along the way. “We have really great associate and assistant deans, [and] great senior staff over here,” he said. “They’ll make sure the college keeps running smoothly.”

Owen also wants to focus more on retention within the A&S College. One of the ways he plans on doing that is by becoming more visible to the students in the College. “My job is to make it so that students can flourish in their educational career,” he said.

Since he has already been serving as chair of philosophy, this won’t be as much of a challenge for him. “I do know a lot of students, and it’s nice to walk across campus and talk to students,” said Owen. “I think that’s helpful to know students, and I’m teaching this term, so getting to learn, getting to meet and get to know some newer students in my class [will help].”

Similar to Kempf-Leonard, one of the reasons he took on the role as interim dean was to help others. Along with teaching this semester, he said that he feels taking on this role will re-energize him while also making an impact on the College.

“I think we’re prepared to grow and move into the 2020s,” said Owen.

Photo Courtesy of The University of Louisville 

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