Holt school searches for new dean

Lake Virginia (By Jason Jones)

Major changes have been brewing in the Hamilton Holt School, Rollins’ evening college, including the search for a new dean and admission requirements.

As a part of the updates to Holt, transfer students with at least 30 credit hours will have to go through the new Rollins Complete program, a general education program, which is designed to help students map out their remaining years at Rollins. The new degree maps will be available for all 12 offered majors and will match up with the general education requirements of the day school.

“We really wanted to bring that into alignment, but recognizing that we’re dealing with transfer students who already have credit,” said Dr. Patricia Brown, interim dean of the Holt school.

At the graduate level, there is a new Graduate Council that will act as a forum where students in the different graduate programs can exercise their interests and concerns. According to Brown, issues already on the table include student support services and event management.

“We’re looking at scholarships and we’re going to be talking about the writing center and how we can improve the communication for the writing center,” Brown said.

The main concern for Holt, though, is the ongoing search for a new dean. Brown has served as the interim dean since January 2018 and has overseen much of the current changes.

Interviews with prospective candidates will begin in early 2019, with the new dean expected to take the reins for the 2019-20 school year. This will be an important shift, as the new dean will oversee the rest of the changes and form the framework of the school.

“The dean’s role is the cement that holds all the pieces together and makes it work,” said Brown.

An important part of the dean’s role is to act as the director of graduate studies.

“The graduate programs really needed to have an advocate and support in ways that it hadn’t had before. So this is strengthening the whole support structure for graduate education,” Brown said.

A couple of years down the line, after the new dean has made an impact, Brown hoped all of Holt’s achievements will be known to the Rollins community.

“I’d like to be able to see reflected in the community a sense of vibrance for Holt,” Brown said. “More celebration of the successes of the program and the success of our students.”

One thing that will carry on unchanged is the STARS Senior Enrichment program, which gives older adults in the community a chance to continue a lifetime of education, or even enroll for the first time. There is no minimum age or cap on how old you have to be to apply. Current STARS students are from 55-96 years old. The program is $70 for a month of instruction: four sessions at 30 minutes each. Classes offered range from “Current Events” to “The Classics” to “The Arts.”

“It’s basically lifelong learning, not credit, but for interested enrichment and they’re very hungry for it,” said Brown.

Another Holt project in the works is writing of a book. A series of anthologies written by Holt students, faculty, and graduates about their experiences in the program is expected to be published around 2020. A similar book was published back in 2004 with stories compiled from a Holt creative writing class. This is what they hope to recreate.

“You ask[ed] the question, ‘Who is the Holt student?’ We want to answer that question with this book,” said Brown.

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