Summer 2022 Newsletter

Message from Dean Dees

Over my professional career, I’ve had a lot of different jobs: radio disc jockey, football coach, mentor, golf coach, referee, radio sports commentator, performer, professor, administrator and dean. Each role was challenging at times, enlightening at others and always rewarding.

With each new role I assumed, I welcomed the challenges and embraced the duties before me. I am in those shoes again.

By the time you read this message, my days as dean and chief administrative officer for the Kent State Columbiana County campuses will be nearly over. As of August 6, I will no longer serve in that capacity.

Instead, I will be an associate professor in the Kent State University School of Foundations, Leadership and Administration within the College of Education, Health and Human Services, teaching on the Kent Campus.

The move is my choice and I am excited about the new opportunities that await me. My passion is teaching and I especially love teaching teachers. I love seeing a student “get it” and sensing that “ah, ha moment” when the lesson is understood.

While my return to the classroom ends my role as dean and CAO of the Salem and East Liverpool campuses, I will always be emotionally attached to them. I will cheer from the sidelines and support every effort to sustain their success. I will miss them.

I began my Kent State career on the East Liverpool Campus, teaching education courses. I moved to the Salem Campus to teach and launch the Rising Scholars program. I fulfilled a role on the Kent Campus in the Center for Teaching and Learning. For a few years, I not only served as dean of our campuses, but as an interim vice president on the Kent Campus, with a focus on the regional campuses.

My years as dean of the Columbiana County campuses, however, have been some of the most fulfilling and amazing of my professional career. I loved working with individuals and organizations from our communities to find ways to support our mission of serving our students and providing gateways to great futures. There are amazing people who do incredible things to support these two campuses. I am truly grateful to have worked beside them and with them to make significant improvements to our campuses.

The employees and faculty on the Salem and East Liverpool campuses are just incredible. As their leader, I was proud of their loyalty, dedication and commitment to our students during some of the most challenging times ever faced by educators during the COVID pandemic. Their responses to that situation were nothing short of astounding – no one gave up on our students and all accepted the responsibility to keep moving forward.

I’ve been asked numerous times why I decided to step down as dean and each time, my answer is the same: it is time.

Age has a funny way of making us view life a bit differently and as I get older, I am noticing the “little things” that I no longer want to take for granted: time with my wife and daughters; good health; spending time with friends on the golf course; or reading a good book.

I also miss interacting with students. I really do.

As a dean, I always noticed the students in the lounges, classrooms and halls. I tried to engage with them, but I found it difficult to build those strong connections that come from spending weeks together in a classroom. I am looking forward to those experiences again. 

I could write volumes about my experiences as dean and I could fill pages with significant accomplishments that we achieved in recent years. There were so many good things that happened and great people who made them happen! I loved serving in this role.

Naturally, there were challenges and even some sad days. Each tested my emotional fortitude and often pulled at my heart, but the team around me always lifted me up and helped me rise above the hurdles.

I assure you that the Salem and East Liverpool campuses will continue to serve their respective communities and will continue to support the students who choose to begin their college journeys with us. The staff and faculty care too deeply to do otherwise.

Dr. Brad Bielski will begin serving as the interim dean and CAO of the Columbiana County campuses on Aug. 6. He is the current dean and CAO of the Tuscarawas Campus with years of leadership experience and he understands how to navigate through the Kent State system. I truly feel this will be a smooth transition and that he will serve our campuses well.

Dr. David Dees
I offer my sincere thanks to each of you who supported me and these two campuses over the last six years.

Together, we made a huge impact on so many lives and helped change our corners of the world.

It’s said that when something ends, we only miss it when it was good.

I will miss being dean and CAO of the Kent State Columbiana County Campuses.

Take care,
David Dees


POSTED: Wednesday, June 8, 2022 04:34 PM
UPDATED: Sunday, June 16, 2024 02:00 PM