BY CHRIS COATES Staff Reporter The chair of the California State University, Northridge, Finance, Real Estate and Insurance department has been named interim dean of the school’s College of Business and Economics, which has been without a permanent head since 2003. Dr. William Jennings will take over in August and serve for about a year before a nationwide search is completed to find a permanent dean. He beat out a number of applicants for the temporary position, which was approved by an advisory committee and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Harold Hellenbrand. “All the candidates they had were very good. I guess I was one of the people that could provide leadership for the college in this time of transition,” Jennings said. Jennings, who in August was reappointed to a three-year stint as department chair, is also co-director of the university’s Center for Insurance Education and Research and the director of the Center for Financial Services. He received his doctorate from the UCLA in 1981, and recently served on the school’s Campus Physical Master Planning Committee. Jennings’ appointment comes more than three years since the college’s last permanent dean, Michael Fronmueller, stepped down. In summer 2003, the school selected Fred Evans, a dean of the Craig School of Business at California State University, Fresno, as interim dean while a nationwide search for Fronmueller’s permanent replacement took place. The search took place during the 2005 and 2006 academic year and was conducted by a six-member committee made up of three faculty members, a representative from the university personnel committee and a student, said Penelope Jennings, associate vice president for the university’s Academic Affairs. (Penelope Jennings is married to William Jennings, although she has no role in the selection process.) However, the search for the permanent position proved unsuccessful and the college decided to schedule another search for the 2006-2007 school year. That meant naming another interim dean while the new search got underway. Evans, who will serve as interim dean through August, said Jennings was the right choice. “I think he’s absolutely the best person in the college,” Evans said. “He’s been here a long time. He’s an excellent department chair and I think he’ll do an excellent job as dean.” For Jennings, he said he looks forward to helping the College of Business and Economics the best he can over the next year. “I don’t plan to be a caretaker,” he said. “I plan to move the college forward and help us carry out various agendas and changes and make the college better and serve out students and the college community.” Jennings added that he has not ruled out running for the permanent dean position. “I haven’t made a definitive decision on that,” he said, “but I might apply.” The university has also selected a new dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science. Dr. S.K. Ramesh, the chair of the Electrical and Electronic Engineering Department at Sacramento State University, will take over this summer. While at Sacramento, he also served as special assistant to the provost. Ramesh has degrees from the University of Madras in Chennai, India, and the University of Southern Illinois at Carbondale. He also published a textbook on fiber optic communications.
Jennings Named Interim Dean As CSUN Search to Resume