Dr. Lois Veath, Chadron State College vice president for academic affairs, is retiring at the end of the 2011-2012 academic year after 31 years at the institution.
Veath made the announcement during an all-college meeting of employees Thursday, presenting a long list of developments in academic affairs with faculty members. She cited time with family and recreation as the reason to step down, and received a standing ovation from employees after tearing up at the end of her upbeat announcement.
“Nationally, the average academic shelf life for a provost or academic vice president is five years,” said Veath, who recently married Don Podobnik. “I am two years past that. It is time for me to go fishing in Montana, watch sunsets with my husband and bounce grandchildren on my knees.”
Veath, who served as a science faculty member and dean of the former School of Arts and Science before becoming vice president, said one of her greatest challenges will be “leaving while the party is still going on,” a reference to CSC’s “innovative and unusual initiatives that are not happening on other campuses.”
Chadron State President Dr. Janie Park said Veath will be missed.
“This is a particularly hard time for me, because I cannot imagine Chadron State without Lois Veath at the helm of something,” Park said. “I can’t thank her enough for the seven years she has given me in the academic vice president position.”
Under Veath’s leadership, the college has initiated a number of reorganizational measures for faculty. The achievements of one of the most recent – replacing faculty presidential committees with “faculty learning communities” – were told during Thursday’s meeting.
She used a quote attributed to Antoine Saint-Exupery to explain the approach: “If you want to build a ship, don't drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”
Veath also guided the successful effort of CSC’s accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission in 2007, and has overseen the development of relationships with a number of foreign colleges and universities.
“As I commence my seventh year as academic vice president, or, as I like to call it, the cheerleader with money, I am really gratified by the amazing initiatives that our faculty, students and staff have undertaken and to keep Chadron State College a step ahead, as described by the Higher Learning Commission in Chicago,” she said.
Veath, who moved to Chadron with her now late husband David in 1979, has had much advancement since being hired as part-time adjunct faculty member in 1981. After earning a doctorate in 1988, she was promoted to assistant professor and tenured in 1989. She continued through the academic ranks, and, at one time, was the only female full professor teaching at CSC.
Veath said she was giving ample notice of her retirement in order for the institution to conduct a thorough search for a replacement. A national search is expected to begin immediately, with hopes of finding a replacement by January 2012.
—Justin Haag, CSC Information Services