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Deans take departments in different directions

Reflecting on their first semesters and the changes that lie ahead

By Crystal Sindelar
On March 6, 2013

  • Dr. Jimmy Reyes
  • Dr. Milford Muskett
  • Dr. Lori Woeste


After completing their first semester at Kirkwood Community College, three of the newest deans reflected on the past and what they look forward to in the coming semester.

Dr. Milford Muskett, dean of Social Sciences and Career Options, described his first semester here as "busy" and explained that he learned a lot, including how to run the department. Overall, he said he enjoyed his first semester and it kept him on his toes.

He also stated that his best moment was when he was in a meeting where he comprehended what was being discussed, a moment he described as a "turning point of understanding."

Reflecting on last semester, Muskett said he found that the level of organization in the department was not what he expected it to be. At the beginning of last semester the department was not fully staffed, which has been rectified.

When comparing this semester to last semester, Muskett said he could already see differences. He said this semester is "a lot easier" and he "doesn't feel as panicky or rushed." He added that he is "staying on top of things." Looking ahead to the rest of the semester, Muskett said he is looking forward to creating a "well tuned class schedule for next year."

"Exciting" is the word that Dr. Jimmy Reyes used to describe his first semester as the new Dean of Nursing at Kirkwood. Now in his second semester he said he's happy to see all of the new and returning students.

He said being able to teach and share his own personal experiences as a nurse helps connect-the-dots for his students.

There are going to be several changes to the nursing program in the upcoming semesters. Reyes explained that the nursing program has started a study abroad for July. "It will be the first time in many years that we're actually doing that," he said.

Over the summer, Reyes said he is taking 12 students to Costa Rica but that the program is not only for nursing students. He added that any student who wants to achieve knowledge or experience in helping with the elderly, diabetics or HIV/AIDs victims is a good fit for the trip.

The program is also taking an optional and innovative turn into a bilingual curriculum.

"I'm also partnering with the Spanish department to develop a Spanish nursing course," said Reyes. This program will be the first to combine the two departments, according to the Kirkwood website.

At the beginning of last semester Dr. Lori Woeste, dean of Math and Science, said, "Not a day has gone by this job isn't everything I expected it to be," a quote that still holds true today, according to Woeste.

However, she mentioned that she forgot to carve out time for herself and sometimes got overscheduled, a mistake she is trying to avoid doing this semester.

Woeste described her first semester at Kirkwood as "energizing", explaining that she started in the summer and she was excited to get going. Meeting the faculty and students and the realization that she had made the right choice in coming to Kirkwood were her high points.

Woeste said a major change coming for the department is the Math Emporium, which will be a room filled with computers and enough space to seat 118 people. There will also be several faculty members in the emporium with students. Woeste remarked that her goal is to enhance learner success.

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