Associate Dean Spotlight: John Ward

January 21, 2020

The Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education shares thoughts on his goals and efforts for the upcoming year. 

John Ward

What are the biggest projects/efforts you're working on currently in your role as Associate Dean?
We are just beginning a project to evaluate and revise several CBS online courses. We are working with the Center for Educational Innovation (CEI), Academic Technology Support Services (ATSS) and the Research Learning Technology (RLT) group in CBS. We want to make sure that the courses work well for our students and for our faculty and that our online courses are the best they can be.

What are your goals for the year in your role?
This year I am working with the Directors of Undergraduate Studies (DUGS) to redefine the core biology curriculum (the biology courses required for all CBS majors). We want to make the requirements more consistent and flexible between the CBS majors. We are working on three new minors that may be ready for Fall 2020. And I have a goal to increase the number of CBS courses that meet the LE Environment requirement.

What's coming up in undergraduate education at the University that we should know about?
The most important event this year for undergraduate education will be the arrival of our new Provost Dr. Rachel Croson at the end of March 2020. As Provost, she will have oversight responsibility for all undergraduate programs in the University system. This spring the faculty senate considered but did not pass new General Education requirements for all majors. With a new Provost and our new President Dr. Joan Gabel, I expect that some large changes, such as changes in the Gen Ed requirements, might be considered again.

What's something unique about your role as Associate Dean?
As Associate Dean my main responsibility is oversight of the undergraduate curriculum. The college wants to continuously improve the curriculum to enhance student learning. Making changes in the major requirements is challenging because even small changes can have large, and sometimes unforeseen, impacts on our students. So, consultation with CBS undergraduates as well as CBS advisors, and faculty is essential when we make any changes to the curriculum. It is a unique responsibility that I have in CBS.

What's something you enjoy about your role as Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education?
Many CBS students take on leadership roles outside of their normal classwork. It is an important aspect of their personal and professional development that I enjoy supporting. For example, as Associate Dean I work with the CBS Student Board, Dean’s Scholars, Undergraduate TAs, Peer Mentors, and others.

Another thing that I particularly enjoy is that as Associate Dean I get to read the names of CBS graduates at Commencement. It is an honor to participate in that way in such a meaningful event for CBS students and their families and friends.