Marietta names Dr. Janet L. Bland Provost and Dean of the Faculty
In just a few hours, Dr. Janet L. Bland’s email was filling up with congratulatory notes from friends and colleagues. She was also getting text after text with similar messages.
Even though she doesn’t officially begin as Marietta College’s Provost and Dean of the Faculty until July 1, Dr. Bland realizes she’s already on the clock.
“There are things I need to begin now before July 1 gets here,” she said. “I have a deep faith in the faculty and staff as they are engaged in our educational mission. I know Marietta and I’m looking forward to all of us moving forward.”
President Joseph W. Bruno announced Bland’s appointment in an email to campus earlier this week.
“What makes this so exciting is that I’m not welcoming someone new to the Marietta College family with this hire,” Bruno said. “Dr. Bland is someone who knows the College well. She is a well-respected member of our faculty and I am confident she will make a smooth transition to the administration. I consulted with faculty, staff, trustees and other members of the College community and it became clear that Dr. Bland was the best fit for Marietta.”
Bland was selected from among five semifinalists for a position that will have a number of responsibilities, including strategic planning, coordination across academic and administrative realms, faculty leader and working closely with the President’s senior leadership.
In the absence of the President, Bland will also assume the leadership of the College.
“I have received expressions of support from faculty and staff, and that is very important to me,” Bland said. “I do know that President Bruno went the extra mile to speak with people so he could feel confident in his decision. He really wanted to make sure he found a provost who could work well with him and work well with the faculty. For that, I am very grateful.”
Dr. Mark Miller, who has been serving as the Interim Provost, will return to his former post as Associate Provost.
“I want to offer my deepest thanks to Dr. Miller for his tireless work in the position. He has already taken on much of the challenging work before us, and I’m grateful for his hard work and exemplary service to the College,” Bruno said. “It has been an honor and a pleasure to work with him and I am pleased that he will continue in his current role until the end of June.”
Bland has spent the past 10 years as a faculty member in the English Department, rising to McCoy Associate Professor. She also added the responsibility of Associate Dean of Accreditation three years ago in preparation for the accreditation review that Marietta will undergo starting this fall.
She notes her work on accreditation has opened her eyes to the trials many in higher education face these days.
“In talking with colleagues at other institutions, I learned that we don’t often face similar challenges,” said Bland, a fourth-generation educator. “I have had the opportunity to make presentations to the Board of Trustees on work that I have conducted for accreditation and I always tell them that I always find nothing but solid performances by the people and departments at the College. We do amazing things with students, and we have a wonderful faculty and staff. I am excited about this opportunity, and I believe in our future.”
Bland noted there are many programs and academic enriching opportunities already established at the College that she plans to continue supporting.
“We must also begin the hard work of developing a new general education curriculum that I believe is an important step for Marietta College,” Bland said. “This crucial faculty initiative will also include student input.”
She is also preparing for Oct. 19-20.
“That’s when the Higher Learning Commission peer reviewers will be here,” she said.
Recent graduate Ryan Turnewitsch ’15 was in Bland’s freshman seminar course in the Fall of 2011 and is excited to see his alma mater choose her as the next provost.
“Dr. Bland brings such a wealth of experience, insight and commitment to Marietta College and the Provost’s office. She intimately understands the issues our school is facing and I know she will make decisions that are in the best interest of the students and the school at large,” Turnewitsch said. “It is very sad to lose her from the classroom as she is one of the best faculty members here. But I am truly excited to see the difference she can make as our new provost.”
Prior to joining Marietta College, Bland ran the first-year writing program at the University of Denver — where she earned her Ph.D. in Creative Writing in 2001. She also earned a Master of Arts in English/Creative Writing from Temple University in 1994 and a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Washington in 1987.
When asked about what excites her as an educator, Bland responded: “I really enjoy the process of insightful discovery where we explore new ideas together, and students begin to think of themselves as creative, intellectually curious people.”
Bland and her spouse, Elinor Hellis, live in Williamstown, West Virginia. They have two grown sons, Mike and Jeff.