Leadership is changing in the ISU honors program following the retirement of former director Sherri Dienstfrey-Swanson.
The search is on to fill the position. One potential candidate, current interim director Curt Anderson, spoke about his new position and his thoughts regarding the future of the honors program.
“I am co-interiming with Sherri,” Anderson said. “She’s retiring and has left some pretty big shoes to fill. I’ve taught in the honors program for seven years, and this is something that I felt really strongly that I wanted to help with.”
Although Anderson is not the director officially, he has taken on the responsibilities of a director position.
“I’m overseeing all the contract courses,” he said. “I’m helping to build new honors courses, met [last week] with the College of Science and Engineering to talk about building new courses. I’m just trying to continue this wonderful tradition.”
While Anderson’s position is temporary, he has big plans for the future of the honors program.
The process of actually hiring a new director is a lengthy one, and it’s currently unknown when a new one will be appointed.
Dienstfrey-Swanson left a profound impact on ISU and the honors program, but new leadership means new opportunities.
Dr. Jamie Romine-Gabardi, an Instructor Coordinator for the honors program eluded to what can possibly be expected with the new leadership role.
“The biggest changes will probably be an exciting new dynamic,” she said. “Whoever is going to be coming in will have new ideas and fresh approaches, a possible background in a new field of study, so new, different opportunities for students will open up.”
ISU is the only school in the state with an actual honors degree and has expansive resources.
The co-interims share a similar sentiment where they do what they do for the students.
“I love it,” Anderson said. “Being able to interact with students with successful goals and watching other folks succeed is incredibly rewarding. I’ve been in academia for 20 years, and nothing is more rewarding than watching students you’ve been with since the beginning succeed and become what they want to be.”
Dienstfrey-Swanson is even prolonging her stay at ISU for her students. she will officially retire on Dec. 15.
“Why I am still here is because I get to see my kids through their thesis,” she said. “I am also the UHP advisor, so I get to stay here until the end of the school year.”