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Assistant dean is ‘scholar-teacher’

Kathleen Weaver, associate professor of biology, is the new assistant dean in the College of Arts and Sciences. Weaver, who joined the dean’s office Sept. 1, said she is excited about her new responsibilities, including overseeing the La Verne Experience, general education and support for community engagement. She joined the faculty in 2006. / photo by Nicole Ambrose

Kathleen Weaver, associate professor of biology, is the new assistant dean in the College of Arts and Sciences. Weaver, who joined the dean’s office Sept. 1, said she is excited about her new responsibilities, including overseeing the La Verne Experience, general education and support for community engagement. She joined the faculty in 2006. / photo by Nicole Ambrose

Amanda Larsh
Staff Writer

To help manage some of the work that accompanies steady enrollment increases, the College of Arts and Sciences has added Kathleen Weaver, associate professor of biology, to the dean’s office staff. Weaver began her new position as assistant dean Sept. 1, more than a year after previous Assistant Dean Zandra Wagoner left the position to become Campus Chaplain.

Previously a tenured biology professor, who spent time doing field work at the University’s Magpie Ranch in Montana, Weaver said the position change is a way to work on a college-wide level rather than being confined to the biology department.

“It’s a new adventure for me,” Weaver said. “I really love this school, so it gives me a chance to help it.”

Her move from professor to administrator, she said, is offering her some insight into the changes that need to occur at the department level.

One change would include the plan to improve the way undergraduate biology students are taught research methods, including gathering statistics and scientific writing.

Improvements in these aspects of the department will help increase student’s success after graduation, while greatly increasing the likelihood that their research will make it into scholarly journals.

“She’s a great teacher because she’s a good scholar and brings that into the classroom,” said Jonathan Reed, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Weaver has many changes in store not only for the department, but the University as well.

Some of the projects she will be involved with include working on increasing community engagement learning, creating a two-unit class required for sophomores – developing the Sopho­more La Verne Experience, or SOLVE program, to follow FLEX.

“Because she fits the role of the scholar-teacher-model, she was the perfect candidate,” Reed said.

“The dean’s office is really excited to have her join us.”

Weaver is also a part of the board working on revising and simplifying the requirements for the general education as well as the biology major.

Weaver said by redesigning the department’s teaching mechanisms using a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, or STEM, grant they are improving ways they teach undergraduate biology students research techniques.

The grant was specifically allocated for improving the University’s science departments.

The plan to revise the general education requirements is not limited to the College of Arts and Sciences.

The committee also plans to extend the change to the entire University as well.

On top of all this, Weaver also hopes to deepen high-impact practices used throughout the school, which will lead to improved student learning and an overall higher quality level of education at La Verne.

“Kat brings a great deal of collaborative skills, insight into pedagogy and a commitment to student learning,” Wagoner said.

With the new charge, Weaver will have less time for her research as on Oreohelix snails.  But she says she’s ready to face the daunting prospect of revitalizing different aspects of the University.

Amanda Larsh can be reached at amanda.larsh@laverne.edu.

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