Monmouth University’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences (SHSS) celebrates the one-year anniversary of its new dean, David Hamilton Golland, Ph.D., this fall. Golland’s assignment follows that of Richard Veit, who formerly served as the School’s Interim Dean.
Joe Rapolla, specialist professor and Chair of the Music and Theatre Arts Department, said of the upper faculty transition, “Interim/Associate Dean Veit, now Interim Provost Veit, and Dean Golland collaborated closely to ensure a smooth and productive transition. The University has been fortunate to have leaders in the school who have all supported each other constructively in the best interest of the school and its constituents.”
Golland has been at the University for a total of only 14 months despite the high-ranking position. He had previously visited campus to attend two scholarly conferences but did not rise through the faculty before reaching dean status. Before his position at Monmouth, Golland served as a tenured historian at another institution, which gave him the experience needed to serve as dean of the School. Nevertheless, his first year has consisted of learning not only about his new position but learning about how Monmouth functions as an academic institution.
“Being new here, a lot of the first year was learning; learning what makes Monmouth tick, how the departments of the School interact with each other, how the departments and the School itself interact with the other Schools in the University, and how academic affairs interact with the nonacademic units,” Golland explained.
Golland’s first year was also filled with atypical administration endeavors as he became educated on how each department within the School functioned. A safari ride at Six Flags Great Adventure on behalf of the Department of Psychology and a recording studio tour from the Department of Music and Theatre Arts were just a couple of experiences cited.
“[Professor Rapolla] and the students—it was mostly the students—invited me to come out to the studio in Asbury Park that evening [after observing their class] and see their process,” Golland started. “I was just blown away by the talent of the students both inside the studio and inside the [recording] booth and the faculty and staff that were working in the studio. I went home that night, and I just went, ‘I have the best job in the world.’ What a wonderful, wonderful experience. I can’t believe that I’m so fortunate to be able to do that.”
Rapolla said of Golland, “First and foremost Dean Golland is an educator. He is collaborative, open-minded, and brings a balanced and optimistic energy and enthusiasm to the role.”
This enthusiasm manifests itself not only in how Golland interacts with students and faculty but also in how he views his own position and plans on achieving his ambitions for the coming years. “In academia, it’s not about being a boss, it’s about being a cheerleader,” he explained. “I take that mantra very, very seriously.”
Following this mindset, Golland’s future endeavors include encouraging more collaboration between heads of different departments within the School, as well as fostering a deeper connection and interwovenness with the other Schools in the University. He also briefly mentioned potential ideas to expand Monmouth’s prospective student outreach during the summer months when the campus remains more desolate.
Deanna Shoemaker, Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Communication, acknowledged Golland’s efforts made thus far concerning those goals. She said, “I appreciate his collaborative approaches and his desire to support and grow our large and vibrant School of Humanities and Social Sciences.” She continued to express her expectations for the coming years by saying, “I hope Dean Golland can be a bold champion for the SHSS and prioritize hiring new and diverse faculty members who will be supported in order to thrive at Monmouth. I also hope he can bring sustainable initiatives forward that showcase our SHSS students’ and faculty’s interdisciplinary strengths and signature academic and creative work on campus and beyond.”
With one year completed, Golland wishes to start working towards some of his more concrete goals. “It’s been a wild ride, and I find myself starting the fall semester just eager for more and eager to put some of this knowledge that I’ve gained in the past year to real practice,” he expressed regarding his second year as Dean. “I’m going to remain very enthusiastic for the next one hundred years.”