The leadership of WCC will see three changes for the Fall 2014 semester, with Deans Jim Egan and Rosemary Wilson choosing to return to teaching and Dean Showalter retiring this summer.
Dean Rosemary Wilson has been part of the WCC community for 27 years and served as Dean of Business & Computer Technologies for 14 years. She reflected positively on her years as dean, citing her most recent trip to Jordan as part of the WCC/University of Michigan collaborative grant from Higher Education Development. She noted that the reward as a dean “comes from seeing things like going to Jordan with faculty and watching faculty in Jordan understand our small business toolkit.”
She recalled a number of personal stories from her time teaching and the direct reward from working so closely with students. “I love teaching, interacting with students, the immediacy (of reward) in teaching,” said Dean Wilson. “And the impact you have on students’ lives.”
One particular story which came during her years as a teacher was a time when students were required to write a complaint letter to a business of their choice as part a class assignment. A student spoke with Wilson privately about being denied final reconstructive surgery after surviving breast cancer. The student completed the letter for her assignment and sent it. Later, dean Wilson found out that the student received coverage for her final surgery, along with four others who were previously denied.
Dean Jim Egan has worn many hats during his 32 years at WCC, from part-time faculty to department chair, interim dean of math and science, to dean of distance learning. He noted that while there are differences between teaching and serving as dean, he has enjoyed each position and is looking forward to returning to faculty.
“I love to teach and I love this job (being dean),” said Egan. “This (WCC) is the most helpful group I’ve ever known for a job environment.”
One of the joys cited during his time as dean is that distance learning is integrated into every department and aspect of campus. He noted that leading distance learning added a “whole different dimension” to teaching. “I learned teaching all over again,” said Egan. “I already love teaching, but how do you make that more accessible for more people.”
Marty Showalter, Dean of Math, Science and Health, is pleased to be retiring after over 35 years working at WCC, with 20 plus years teaching. She expressed her affection for WCC, the staff she has worked with during her time here, and her appreciation for the teamwork she has always experienced accomplishing significant projects. “I’m happy to be involved with an institution which I am philosophically aligned with,” said Showalter. “I’ve had the opportunity to interact on a close level with over half of the college.” She noted projects such as the creation of the environmental science program and the renovation of the Liberal Arts and Science building as just a couple of the major undertakings during her time leading the division. She noted that as dean, she’s had the opportunity to continue learning, read more, and understand more about science, the labs, the equipment needed, and all that goes into each program.
Showalter also had some positive comments toward fellow Dean Jim Egan, citing that when she became dean, she would “continue the Jim Egan model of respect and teamwork” within’ her division.
While Showalter remarked that she enjoyed all of her time and her many roles at WCC, she mentioned a number of endeavors she plans to explore after retirement, including taking classes, cooking, wine-making, music, gardening, volunteering and traveling to see her grandchildren.
“I’m going to miss this place, because it’s like an extended family. There is a level of commitment by oh so many people,” noted Showalter.
There were several common themes between the deans as they reflected on their careers; they love teaching and learning, and most of all, the students. Each noted that their most rewarding moments have been the instant when a class understands the content and lights up.
“That moment when something happened, and the class clicked,” said Showalter. “The individual ‘aha!’ moments, when they (the students) mastered a concept.” Egan echoed Showalter’s sentiments saying, “It is really rewarding when you see someone light up.” Wilson added, “You get to see when that light bulb goes off.”
WCC is fortunate to have nearly 100 years of service between these three deans, all of which continue to be passionate about their work on behalf of WCC and for the students they serve. The college will continue to enjoy the work of Deans Egan and Wilson for years to come as they return to teaching.