Administration prepares for staffing changes

Angela Mauroni and Joseph Tingley

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James Mullen, president of Allegheny College, announced in an email on March 8, 2016, that Sue Stuebner, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the college, will be taking the job of president at Colby-Sawyer College in New Hampshire next year.

Stuebner has held her current position at Allegheny for three years.

“I regret that this stop has been shorter than I ever expected,” Stuebner said.

I regret that this stop has been shorter than I ever expected.”

— Sue Stuebner

According to Stuebner, Mullen will be heading a committee, which will include two students, to find her replacement.

Stuebner, who attended Harvard University, said she looks forward to returning to New England, a place she described as her “heart home.”

In her three years at Allegheny, Stuebner said she has seen the senior administrative staff take shape. She said she is disappointed that she will not be able to see the team they have built come to fruition.

“The results won’t really be evident until next year and beyond,” Stuebner said. “I think there has been a lot of hard work in terms of getting the enrollment structure back in place and I think the fundamentals are now there to really to have a more predictable cycle for the college.”

Stuebner said she will not be involved in the process of choosing her replacement, but said she has every confidence that someone will be chosen quickly.

“Their hope is they could potentially have finalists on campus by June sometime, and they’ll be videotaping those finalists so that others can have a chance to weigh in even if they are not on campus,” Stuebner said.

Stuebner is the not the only administrator who will be leaving before the start of next year. Ann Sheffield, who has served as registrar for the past eight years, will depart from the position. Ian Binnington, current associate professor of history, has been appointed as the registrar following Sheffield’s departure.

Although Sheffield held the position of associate dean of the college in addition to registrar, Binnington said the titles will be changing for the position. Along with holding the position of registrar, Binnington will adopt the new title of associate dean of academics.

Binnington said his duties will include supervising and directing class registration. He said he does not make academic policy, but he will be reviewing it and ensuring its consistency.

The registrar is also a member of the Curriculum Committee, on which Binnington served in the past. He was the chair of the committee for two years, starting in spring of 2013 and finishing in the fall of 2014.

He said he has experience collaborating with other organizations already, as he has presented to faculty and spoke with Allegheny Student Government in the past.

“I would like to think that I have good working relationships with a lot of people on campus,” Binnington said.

According to Binnington, he has advisees who have been given the option to either keep him as an adviser or choose a different professor.

Sheffield said the reason for her departure is a chance to earn a master’s degree in Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Durham University in Durtham, England. Sheffield, prior to becoming the registrar, served as a professor of chemistry. She said she was passionate about both chemistry and literature in college, and this is a chance to explore the path not taken.

“I’ve always loved it, and when I was in college I was really torn…and I went with the one that seemed the most practical,” Sheffield said.

Sheffield said upon her return she hopes to resume teaching, hopefully being able to use her new master’s degree. She said she has missed being in the classroom.

“I think I have been an administrator long enough,” Sheffield said.

Despite the change in staffing, Sheffield said she feels the transition will be as smooth as possible. She said she will be meeting with Binnington throughout the rest of this academic year to ensure he is ready to assume the position. Sheffield said Binnington has taken initiative of his own by participating in a workshop on how to be a college registrar.

“I feel really good that the office is in good hands,” Sheffield said.   

For the immediate future, Binnington said he does not have any policies he wants to change. He plans to get a better understanding for the registration system through working with it before attempting to implement any changes.

“Over the course of time, there may be things I see that I want to change,” Binnington said. “But I’ll be taking a very low-key approach to that.”

Although he hopes to eventually return to teaching, Binnington is excited for the new position and the challenges it will likely bring.

“It’s a new challenge,” Binnington said. “I’m looking forward to it.”

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