Over the past few months there have been some major changes within the Department of Psychology. Three professors, specializing in cognitive and behavioral sciences (CBS), have changed roles. Dr. Cooper Cutting, who previously served as associate chair and undergraduate coordinator for the department, accepted a position within the Provost’s Office. Dr. Alycia Hund stepped in as undergraduate coordinator, leaving her position as CBS coordinator. Dr. Jeffrey Wagman was then appointed interim CBS coordinator until a more permanent person can be selected. Each faculty member was recently asked about their new positions and responsibilities. The following is what they had to say.
Assistant Vice President for Academic Planning Dr. Cooper Cutting
“On January 6, 2020, I began a new position in the Office of the Provost as the assistant vice president for academic planning. The position is a new one, evolving from Bruce Stoffel’s former position as Coordinator of Academic Programs and Policy (Bruce retired in the fall of 2019). My responsibilities include: ensuring the University remains in compliance with policies, regulations, and statutes, set forth by the State of Illinois, the Illinois Board of Higher Education, and our accrediting body, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC); serving as the Provost’s representative on the Academic Planning Committee—which is responsible for the oversight of the program review process—to provide support to academic units in exploring new opportunities and programs; coordinate compliance with the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements; to provide support for university compliance with state and federal statutes related to academic programs; and to support university-level aspects of the faculty appointment, salary, tenure, and promotion system.
Since January, I have learned a lot. I was fortunate enough to have Bruce Stoffel return to give me a couple of weeks of orientation and he continues to help by answering my many emailed questions as things new to me keep turning up. The new position is giving me the opportunity to learn about what nearly all academic units across campus do for our students, academic disciplines, and our broader community. At times it has felt overwhelming—the analogy of drinking from a fire hose comes to mind—but I’m staying patient with myself and each week brings greater familiarity and understanding.”
Psychology Undergraduate Coordinator Dr. Alycia Hund
“I began my work as an undergraduate coordinator at the beginning of the semester. It is exciting to work with our faculty and staff to coordinate details for the undergraduate program, including our majors, minors, and all the students in our courses and out of class experiences. We have been working hard to arrange details for fall 2020 and are glad that registration is here. We are already planning for spring 2021 and beyond. Of course, this semester has brought unexpected challenges, so I have been learning and working from home, helping coordinate our department details. One of the first things we did was to survey our undergraduate and graduate students to find out about their needs with regard to computers, internet connectivity, textbooks, and materials during the transition to online learning. Then, we worked to fill the gaps with electronic textbooks, etc. We also worked to move our processing of out of class contract forms online to help instructors and students plan their research apprenticeship and teaching assistantship details for coming semesters.”
Interim CBS Program Coordinator Dr. Jeffrey Wagman
“I stepped into the role of interim CBS program coordinator to fill a departmental need this semester. The main responsibilities of this position are to serve as the ‘point person’ for various aspects of the sequence, to keep track of graduate student progress, oversee recruitment and admissions of prospective graduate students in the sequence, organize the professional development seminar for current graduate students, plan and set agendas for meetings—of the faculty in the sequence—and attend meetings of the Department Council, among others.”