College veteran named interim dean

Hello. First, let me introduce myself. I am Jason Zimmerman, interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Since I spent this academic year in the role of associate dean, I will be entering my second year in the dean’s office. When the former dean, Dennis Papini, left to become provost of the University of Illinois at Springfield, I accepted the invitation from President Barry Dunn and Provost Dennis Hedge to take over the dean’s duties until a new dean is in place.p01-Zimmerman-Jason_2017_005

I have asked Jason McEntee, head of the English department, to serve as an interim associate dean. He will also continue with some of his duties as English department head.

I am not new to SDSU and the College of Arts and Sciences. I joined the faculty of the Department of Economics in 1999 and served as assistant department head from 2010 to 2015. I also recently completed a two-year term as interim director of the Ness Division of Management and Economics.

My wife, Kyrsten, and I raised our children in Brookings. We will be sending our oldest, Aaron, off to college for the first time this fall. Our daughter, Madeline, is a sophomore at Brookings High School. We are proud to be living here where there are so many opportunities to learn and grow.

During my year as interim dean, I plan to continue many of the exciting programs already underway. As you may know, the college is changing its structural organization to better prepare students for the challenges and opportunities they will encounter in their lifetime. The goals for this “academic revitalization” are to enhance the quality of teaching and learning, revise the curriculum to promote cross-disciplinary thinking and industry-standard knowledge, and build the skills students will need for the modern workplace.

The South Dakota Board of Regents approved the creation of the School of Performing Arts this spring. The school brings together faculty and students in music, theater and dance in a shared academic home. These programs will literally live under the same roof in 2018, when the addition to the Performing Arts Center is complete. With state-of-the-art facilities, we expect the School of Performing Arts to become a destination of choice for students.

Also this year, the Division of Communication and Journalism will move forward with its plans to seek Board of Regents approval to become a school in fall 2018. When completed, the school will house the advertising, communication studies, journalism and public relations majors. It will also feature a social media research lab that will provide hands-on learning opportunities, an expanded speech lab open to all SDSU students, and the Yeager Media Center, our campus HD broadcast studio.

The School of Performing Arts and an eventual School of Communication and Journalism will join the School of Design, now in its third year, as regional leaders in higher education. These schools represent our commitment to keeping the arts and sciences relevant and attractive to today’s students.

I invite you—our students, faculty, alumni and friends—to read more about our college in this issue of Transformations, the annual magazine from the College of Arts and Sciences. It features the “People of Arts and Sciences” and was inspired by Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York project. While most of the articles are written by journalism and agricultural communication students, some are written by University Marketing and Communications staff. The stories are told by those interviewed, thus, giving firsthand accounts of what life is like in our college. We hope you will enjoy reading more about us from these articles that provide a window into our college. We invite you to share the “Passion. Discovery. Opportunity.” that underlie the pledges we make to our students and faculty every day.


Jason Zimmerman
Interim Dean

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