Spiro balances life as professor and dean

Not many people know what it’s truly like to live a double life, but Associate Academic Dean Jonathan Spiro does. Spiro is Castleton State College’s new associate academic dean – but he’s also still a history professor.

President Dave Wolk had the idea that every two years, the academic dean’s office would rotate a faculty member who would be both a dean and a professor.

“It feels great to be both faculty and dean,” said Spiro “It was a really brilliant idea Wolk had to have someone who is half-time faculty and half-time dean. It brings the faculty position to the deans and vice-versa.”

Many jobs come with the new position, Spiro said.

He said he is now in charge of mentoring junior faculty on being better teachers, evaluating part-time faculty, expanding summer programs to get more students, revamping honors programs, planning commencement, editing the catalog, and also advising and teaching students.

Regardless of the immense workload, Spiro is happy to be leading this double life.

“I’ve enjoyed every minute. The day ends far too quickly,” said Spiro.

Spiro said he has no concerns about any potential conflict between faculty and administrative duties.

“At any other campus there would be serious conflicts, but at Castleton it really seems to be true that everyone has the best interest of the students at heart,” said Spiro with an honest smile.

His fellow academic deans are really happy to be working with Spiro.

“He is fantastic! He’s here and ready to support every student and every professor,” said Associate Academic Dean Yasmine Ziesler.

Ziesler said she thinks it’s a wonderful thing to work with someone who understands administrative logistics and who is also closely connected with faculty and students.

“I like the idea of having the opportunity to work with faculty in this way,” she said.

His colleagues think of him very fondly as well.

“He is brand new and seems to be doing well so far. It’s great working with him in the office,” said Meredith Fletcher, who handles secretarial duties for the deans.

Spiro takes both positions very seriously and thinks they benefit one another.

“It’s important to teach a course. It makes me a far better dean and teacher because I understand administration as well,” said Spiro

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