Dean Jonathon Spiro comes in every morning at 6:45 with a smile on his face. He clearly loves his job.
But this year’s job isn’t last year’s job.
Spiro is the new academic dean here at Castleton and he says he’s excited about the new opportunities this position brings.
As associate academic dean in past years, he found himself signing his name to student paperwork on a daily basis. Now, as the top academic official at the university, he has closer ties with faculty – but he’s also the last stop students go to determine their academic fate.
“I just love it, and in this position especially, and you can actually make a difference in the lives of thousands of students and that’s amazing,” Spiro said.
Before Spiro became a dean at Castleton, he was a history teacher at Castleton and was the chair of the history department, where he would become a favorite by students.
Meredith Fletcher, coordinator of Placement & Graduation Standards who works in the same office as both deans, sees how much students gravitate to Spiro.
“His interactions with the students are great. They all love him. He is very personable and he listens to the students,” Fletcher said. “He will throw in a couple of jokes and they like that.”
Moving Spiro to head academic dean Position allowed for another teacher to move into his former position. Business professor Cathy Kozlik took Spiro’s duties, but on a part-time basis. Kozlik will continue to teach three classes in the morning while working as a dean in the afternoon.
“I’m excited to be in this new position, a new challenge for me. It’s very different,” she said. “I’m still one foot in teaching. I want to continue talking with students and interacting with students. I don’t want to lose that,” Kozlik said.
With the semester just underway, Kozlik said it has been a fun challenge between teaching classes and doing work as a dean and meeting with students and signing forms.
“In the three weeks I have been here my head has been spinning,” she said. “But it is kind of fun.”
The two moves also mean that former Academic Dean Tony Peffer has moved to a new position in President Dave Wolk’s office as a special assistant to the president. Peffer will now be able to help increase graduate programming as well as being a liaison to the international students, Wolk said.
Wolk said he likes the moves for a lot of reasons.
“So in part, the intention is to ensure that the lines of communication between faculty and administration are open and strong and by the same token, having deans with one foot in the classroom, allows them to be more effective in connecting with students,” Wolk said.
He praised both Spiro and Kozlik and said he’s confident in their abilities to help students.
“She is also like Dean Spiro, an amazing educator, so in part the intention is to ensure that the lines of communication between faculty and administration are open and strong,” Wolk said.
Wolk said, Spiro is a strong academic, who has had scholarly work published and is very well respected by students and is seen as a great and effective professor, which makes him great for his position.
“Dr. Spiro is Immersed in the life of the university, you will see him at musical, and theatrical performance, at many athletics contest, at Soundings events, and he is very involved on and off campus. I believe he has his finger on the pulse of the university,” Wolk said.