Herbert awarded arts and science dean position

Shawn Farrell

Features Editor

Jaimie Herbert, the temporary dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, has been awarded the full dean position at Sam Houston State University. His position will encompass a college composed of 10 departments including the music, art, theater and dance departments.

Herbert, who was appointed the interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in July 2004, was particularly excited and anticipant of his new promotion.

“When the provost called to tell me that they wanted to offer me this position, I was elated,” Herbert explained. “It’s going to be challenging, but it’s going to be a good challenge; the kind of challenge that makes you feel good.”

As part of that challenge, Herbert’s goals include the creation of new innovative, marketable programs within each of the departments over the next five or six years. The musical theater program was one of his examples: a compilation of music, theater and dance that receives national recognition. Of all his objectives as dean, none are more important as opening doors for his faculty.

“Our faculty and our chairs within the College of Arts and Sciences have wonderful ideas,” said Herbert. “What my agenda needs to be is an aggregation of all the agendas throughout our 10 departments.”

Herbert plans to open the doors for students in his departments in order to illustrate all the opportunities available to them. One of his solutions is more undergraduate student involvement in undergraduate research programs while simultaneously expanding graduate programs. The result may alter the way people outside and within the university perceive his college.

“I think that the College of Arts and Science at Sam Houston, for a long time, has been looked at as a service college,” Herbert described. “It is far more than that.”

Born in southern Louisiana in a small community much like Huntsville, Herbert attended the University of Louisiana in Lafayette and earned his Ph. D. in statistics in 1990. His SHSU career commenced in 1995 from his attraction to the masters program in statistics, and he was hired as an assistant professor.

In 1999, the husband and father of two daughters took over as chairman of the mathematics department. It was not until July 2004 that he was offered a temporary position as the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences after the seat was vacated by Brian Chapman. Although honored, Herbert feared he would lose two of his greatest passions as a researcher and teacher in the process. The tradeoff as a full-time administrator was a decision he does not regret now: not by a long shot.

“I can’t say there was no trepidation. It was scary,” said Herbert before reflecting on his new role. “Yet these past months have been one of the most wonderful experiences of my life.”

Then as interim dean, Herbert observed the arts and science college as a vibrant school gaining much momentum in innovative and exciting programs. For countless evenings, the interim dean and his family were exposed to symphonies and plays by the student body of SHSU, an experience he considers fortunate. As for his new position, Herbert feels no apprehension in his decision.

“At this juncture in my career, I don’t think there is anything else that I’d rather be doing than leading the College of Arts and Sciences here at Sam Houston. I feel that strongly about it.”

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