Change has been in the air in the Telitha E. Lindquist College of Arts & Humanities since Madonne Miner was named provost of Weber State University, leaving the position of dean vacant.
While the search committee begins the long task of accepting applications from across the country, the dean’s work continues. Catherine Zublin, who currently serves as associate dean, has been named interim dean. After a brief internal search, Becky Jo Gesteland was selected as interim associate dean.
According to Christine Denniston, director of marketing and public relations for the college of arts and humanities, when hearing faculty and staff of the college talk about the appointments, “Everyone is very excited about having these two individuals step into these roles because of their experience.”
Zublin said that she believes her appointment to this position will help make the transition to a new dean easier since she’s already known to many in the college. Zublin has also been serving as the associate dean throughout Miner’s term, so Zublin is familiar with many of the dean’s responsibilities.
“I feel my appointment would be the easiest transition for everyone involved because I’ve been serving as associate dean throughout Madonne’s term,” Zublin said. “The staff and I all get along, and we’re a pretty good machine already.”
According to the WSU press release, Zublin graduated from Indiana University with a master of fine arts in theater and drama and holds a bachelor of arts in communication from the University of Colorado at Boulder. In her 30 years at WSU as a professor of theater, Zublin has developed and taught classes in all aspects of theater, historical costume and makeup design. She is active in the community, serving on the board of directors for the Treehouse Children’s Museum, as well as directing fundraisers for the Ogden OUTReach Resource Center.
Duties of the dean include supervision of the five departments in the college of arts and humanities along with the Val A. Browning Center for Performing Arts and the Ethel Wattis Kimball Visual Arts Center buildings.
“It is an honor to be selected to serve as interim dean of a college that enriches the lives of our students and prepares them to be successful in a wide range of careers,” Zublin said in a statement. “I look forward to working with our talented students, dedicated faculty and the larger community to continue the trajectory established by now Provost Miner.”
Having served as an associate dean and knowing the importance of that role, Zublin put out a call among arts and humanities professors looking for someone interested in serving in the interim position.
Professor Becky Jo Gesteland was one of many professors who volunteered for the interim associate dean position. Zublin and Gesteland have both attended a workshop with Higher Education Resource Services (HERS), which is an opportunity for women in higher education to prepare for taking leadership roles. This experience, along with ideas that Gesteland has for bettering the college of arts and humanities made her a stand-out candidate for the associate dean position.
Gesteland has been a professor of English teaching courses in technical writing and American literature at WSU for 15 years. She earned her Ph.D. in American Studies in English from the University of Utah and a master of arts in English from the University of Madison-Wisconsin. She has an extensive publication history, including articles in technical writing.
“I”m completing on Tuesday a six-month term of being the interim chair of the english department,” Zublin said. “There’s a lot of teasing right now that I’m just going to keep fulfilling interim positions around campus, but I hope not. You serve wherever people need you to serve, and that was what was needed at the time.”