New dean brings experience and enthusiasm to CLAS

Dean+Zauhar

Photo credit/ Joseph Petro

Dean Zauhar

Elysabethe Brown, News Editor

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has a new dean. Dr. Frances Zauhar has filled the position formerly held by Dr. Michael Foley, who retired in June.

Zauhar, originally from Newport, Rhode Island, graduated from Seton Hill University, and earned her Master’s and Doctoral degree in American Literature from Louisiana State.

Dr. Laurie McMillan, associate professor and chair of the English department, as well as a member of the search committee in charge of recommending candidates for dean, said that Zauhar has experience being at a Catholic school and “knows what it means to have a Catholic identity.”

Zauhar’s first job was as a professor at Gustavus Adolphus College, a Lutheran school in Minnesota. She later moved on to Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa. where she remained for 15 years, spending 10 of them as chair of the English department. She taught courses such as literature and environment, women and literature, literature and spirituality, and literature and contemporary and future cultures- -a course taught on Star Trek.

As department chair, Zauhar enjoyed being able to recognize what a good English major studies and the things that aren’t part of the study of literature, but would be important to the major.

“One of the ways departments get to do cool things is if you show that it’s effective and you do that by taking surveys and keeping track of data and writing reports. Somebody needed to do that stuff and so I did it.”

Because of her administrative experience, she wanted to coordinate work from different departments and moved on to the position as Humanities Division Chair at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, but applied at Marywood because she missed a church-oriented school.

Zauhar said that she appreciated Marywood’s attention to their mission and core values. “That’s just a different way of thinking about why what you do is valuable and how what you do is of service to the people you work with and the students you work with. And I really liked that and wanted to be a part of that again.”

She went on to say that Marywood really resonated with her because “it felt like this was a place where I could learn a lot but also contribute. And that’s what I’m hoping to do.”

Other faculty and staff agreed that Zauhar is a perfect match for Marywood.

“She just gave very practical and measured answers that were just smart and interesting and thoughtful. And those are the kind of things you want to see in a dean,” said Dr. Erin Sadlack, associate professor of English, who was able to give the search committee feedback as to who she, and other faculty wanted to see as the new dean.

McMillan said that Zauhar does a good job at balancing her own experiences, but also hearing what others have to say. “When she visited, she was a good listener. She wanted to know more about Marywood and give insight about her own ideas as well. So it wasn’t one way or another.”

As far as bringing something new to the university, Zauhar hopes to show that she has experience,
evaluation and assessment and the know-how in developing different kinds of new programs.

“I think what I bring to Marywood is someone else who knows how to go through the process of making a change when it’s needed but can also be comfortable with things the way they are if that’s the best way for them to be,” Zauhar said.