Deans Appointed for New Colleges, New Academic Structure Emerges

June 30, 2016

Mary Baldwin President Pamela Fox has appointed Professor of French Martha Walker as the first dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Associate Professor of Business Administration Joseph R. Sprangel Jr. as the first dean of the College of Business and Professional Studies.

The appointments, which become official on July 1, come as Mary Baldwin College transitions to Mary Baldwin University, under which a new academic structure with four colleges is emerging. The transition also includes the appointment of a provost, who will guide and support the four deans. Oliver H. Evans has accepted the position of interim provost for the 2016–17 academic year, replacing Catharine O’Connell, who stepped down in June as the vice president of academic affairs and dean of Mary Baldwin College.

“I am delighted to welcome Dr. Walker and Dr. Sprangel to these vital new positions at this key point in our institutional evolution,” said Fox. “I’m grateful to the search committees who led the interview process. We join in our enthusiastic support of all that they will bring to our future through their dedication, leadership, creativity, and collaboration.”

Walker and Sprangel will join Dean of the College of Education Rachel Potter and Vice President of the Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences Linda Seestedt-Stanford in a new Academic Leadership Council, that will, among other things, consider academic policies; address recruitment, admissions, and retention issues; and review strategic planning priorities.

The deans’ responsibilities include overseeing planning and administration, providing faculty and curricular leadership, and representing their colleges externally.

Walker’s qualifications reflect the range of experience needed for the position of dean of arts and sciences. A veteran faculty member with 20 years of service at Mary Baldwin, Walker also serves as director of the Global Honors Scholars program and of the Women’s Studies Program in addition to her role as professor of French. She previously chaired the Committee of School Chairs and the School of Arts, Humanities, and Renaissance Studies. She earned bachelor’s degrees in French and economics from Duke University, a master’s degree in French from the University of Virginia, and a PhD in French from Harvard University.

“Mary Baldwin contributes in an essential way to the broader aims of our soon-to-be university by developing students’ critical thinking skills across the liberal arts,” Walker said. “I know that the programs we offer in arts, humanities, and natural and social sciences prepare our undergraduate and graduate students well for personal and professional accomplishment beyond Mary Baldwin. Helping to direct that work means a lot to me, too, both personally and professionally.”

When he entered academia, Sprangel brought 28 years of business and manufacturing experience to the classroom, which included work in machine build and repair, machine design, manufacturing engineering, and plant and engineering management. On the Mary Baldwin faculty since 2010, he has served as chair of the School of Business and Professional Studies and co-chair of the business department. He is holder of the H. Gordon and Mary Beth Reed Smyth endowed chair of business administration. Before joining the faculty at Mary Baldwin College, Sprangel taught at Ithaca College, Lawrence Technological University (LTU), and Spring Arbor University. He earned his associate’s degree in mechanical engineering technology from LTU, a bachelor in business administration from Eastern Michigan University, an MBA from Spring Arbor University, and a doctorate of business administration from LTU.

Sprangel said he is confident that the new College of Business and Professional Studies would provide the building blocks necessary for additional growth for the majors within the college.

“We will be able to work more nimbly to meet the needs of our stakeholders while working in an entrepreneurial manner,” said Sprangel. “This will be done while continuing to ground our offerings in the liberal arts. This provides a powerful combination of general intellectual capacities along with mastery of major knowledge.”

Mary Baldwin College will officially become Mary Baldwin University on August 31, which also marks the kick-off of the institution’s 175th anniversary year.