Upcoming Global Health Minor sparks faculty search

Lawrence University launched a search for a faculty member with credentials in global and public health this term in hope of creating a new minor starting fall 2023 at the soonest, according to Mark Jenike, Associate Professor of Anthropology, who is the chair of the search committee. 

The search committee is made up of a group of faculty members from various departments across the university, including biology, ethnic studies and anthropology.  

Lawrence has been seeking to expand its offering in the field of healthcare career preparation in recent years, with both hands-on experiences offered by the Career Center and the enhancements of certain academic programs, such as the launch of the new health and society minor this Fall Term. 

Global and public health has been an area of growing interest for students at Lawrence in recent years. The new program would enhance the academic preparation for students who are interested in pursuing a healthcare career, according to Beth De Stasio, Raymond H. Herzog Professor of Science and Professor of Biology, who is involved in the search.  

“It’s…making us a leader in healthcare career preparation and setting that in the liberal arts context,” De Stasio said. “It is important that students enter healthcare careers of all kinds with the sense of what it is to be a human being from a holistic standpoint and … know things from all kinds of disciplines.”  

So far, the search committee has placed advertisements in different professional societies, reached out to Lawrence alumni and contacted historically Black colleges and Hispanic-serving institutions to increase the diversity of the applicant pool.  

The search committee hopes to make the hire by next Winter or Spring Term. The new faculty member will then start a career at Lawrence in the fall of 2022. If the search is unsuccessful, the committee may launch another search in the future. 

The creation of a new academic program requires submitting a proposal to a curriculum committee made up of faculty to determine the needs of the program and learning outcomes. 

According to Jenike, the design of the new program in global and public health will be dependent on the expertise of the new faculty member hired by the search committee. After the new program is designed, a proposal will then be drafted to be approved by the curriculum committee.  

During the process, the committee will examine how the new program will fit in the liberal arts context, what the progression will be to reach the pre-determined learning outcomes, and whether the program is going to be sustainable in the long term. 

“We don’t want to create something that we can’t sustain over the long term,” De Stasio said. “Making sure that we have the faculty expertise to offer the program is why we thought we needed someone who has public health credentials to come in, help design the program and lead [the program] because we currently don’t have someone with that kind of credential.” 

The new position is named the Mark Burstein Professor of Global and Public Health, a gift from trustees and benefactors of the university to celebrate Mark Burstein’s tenure as the 16th president of Lawrence University.  

A group of faculty members have been working for the last ten years to secure funding for this new position. The funding was approved last year in association with Mark Burstein’s retirement, per Jenike. 

“We are just really excited to get off the ground, and hopefully we will have a robust applicant pool,” De Stasio said.