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2009 Winter Issue 5 (February 13, 2009)

Dean Scott Bierman named President of Beloit College

February 13, 2009
By Scott Fox

Carleton currently has a college president-in-waiting. On Wednesday, Carleton’s Dean of the College, H. Scott Bierman, was named the new president of Beloit College, effective July 1. Bierman addressed the liberal arts college in Beloit, Wisconsin on Wednesday after James Sanger, the chair of Beloit College’s board of trustees, announced him as the College’s new president.

“Beloit students are endlessly interesting, curiously changeable, and they defy conventions,” Bierman said at Beloit when describing his impressions of the school.

Bierman will leave Carleton at the end of the school year after spending 27 years as a professor and Dean at the college. He has served as the Dean of the College since 2005. In an interview yesterday, Bierman said that he accepted the position because of the chance to be president at a school similar to Carleton that keeps its focus on the liberal arts in a time when many colleges have de-emphasized the importance of such an education.

During his time as Dean of the College, Bierman was deeply involved in the plan to convert the former Northfield Middle School into the Carleton Arts Union. Bierman cited his role in the proposed Arts Union as one of his main accomplishments during his time as Dean. “The work that I’ve done with Arts faculty in developing the concept of the Arts Union and the way in which it can improve the quality of education of Carleton students to come…is so exciting,” says B ierman.

Bierman also mentioned his role in implementing the reduction of professors’ standard teaching load from six to five courses, his working with the Educational and Faculty Committee to develop new graduation requirements, and his ability to skillfully coordinate on projects with Carleton’s other vice presidents as other successes of his deanship.

Bierman’s new setting is not too different from Carleton. Beloit College is a liberal arts college with about 1300 students. It is located in a town of 37,000 people that sits on the Wisconsin-Illinois border. Carleton’s first president, James Woodward Strong, was a graduate of Beloit College. Beloit is frequently ranked among the top 75 liberal arts colleges in the country. “It’s a school that’s looking to focus its energies, build on its strengths, and is poised to become an even better liberal arts college. One of the challenges they face is they do not have Carleton’s financial resources but I’m convinced they have the same loyal alumni Carleton has, so working to engage Beloit’s alumni in ways that Carleton alumni have been engaged has been (and will be) an attractive challenge. There’s a real enthusiasm and energy on Beloit’s campus that’s contagious. They seem very much to be looking for a president who can move them forward.” said Bierman.

Bierman, a graduate of Bates College and the University of Virginia, first came to Carleton in 1982 as an instructor of Economics. He has been a member of Carleton’s Economics Department since then, reaching full professorship in 1996. From 1991 to 1995, he served as Chair of the Economics Department. Bierman was the Carleton Faculty President from 1997 to 2000. In 2003, he became the Associate Dean of the College and ascended to his current position two years later. Bierman expressed the difficulty of leaving his longtime workplace, “It’s very, very hard. I have no doubt it will be harder and harder over the next three months. I’ve loved every moment of my time at Carleton…There is a magic of Carleton that is so special.”

President Oden will meet with Mary Savina, the current Faculty President and other faculty members before making the first steps towards appointing Bierman’s successor. Oden emphasized Dean Bierman’s importance to the college.

“We all will miss Scott's leadership, his abundant sense of humor, his creative problem-solving skills, and much more, even as we salute him and Beloit, knowing that Scott's presidency will be one of advancing Beloit and higher education more broadly."


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