Next semester, USF will welcome two new deans to the School of Management (SOM) and School of Nursing and Health Professions (SONHP). It was announced on April 12 that Dr. Otgontsetseg “Otgo” Erhemjamts would be appointed as the new SOM dean effective July 1. Shortly after, Eileen Fry-Bowers was named the new dean of SONHP.
The positions initially became vacant as current SOM Dean Charles Moses will be joining the University of the Pacific to serve in a similar position for its business school, and current SONHP dean Patricia Pearce will conclude her term as interim dean at the end of June.
Erhemjamts, a finance professor and former associate dean of business at Bentley University, has had two decades of experience in higher education. A thorough selection process was required to determine the School of Management’s new dean, as the college boasts the second largest student population of USF’s five colleges. Erhemjamts will take on the responsibility of overseeing the 1,377 undergraduate students and 539 grad students currently enrolled in SOM.
Shawn Colhoun, one of 14 members of the SOM search committee, said that the committee’s first task was “Launching into the creation of a leadership profile for the position,” Colhoun said. “We met with constituencies across the School of Management and with USF leadership, including the provost’s circle, other deans, vice provosts, and members of the president’s cabinet, to craft a thorough job description for the role.”
Calhoun described each of the candidates considered as, “selected from a large and diverse national pool of applicants.” He continued, “Candidates were from top public and private universities across the country who brought distinguished records of teaching, scholarship, service, and leadership, and were representative of the diversity that characterizes our community.”
Throughout her career, Erhemjamts has made several substantial contributions that showcase her alignment with USF’s values, including serving as co-lead of the Racial Justice Task Force Assessment Committee to launch the Bentley’s first Inclusive Excellence Dashboard, as well as addressing gender inequities in tenure and promotion policies.
According to Angie Davis, assistant vice president of the Office of Marketing Communication, “Dr. Erhemjamts’ appointment is generating excitement on our campus, nationally and globally,” Davis said, “USF’s social media posts announcing the news garnered among the highest engagement numbers of all posts this year, and the top newspapers in Mongolia shared the news.” A first generation immigrant, Erhemjamts was the first mongolian to earn a doctorate of finance in the U.S.
On the same day, Eileen Fry-Bowers was named the new dean of SONHP. Fry-Bowers was selected by a SONHP search committee with 11 members. SONHP is smaller than SOM, with 835 undergraduate and 77 graduate students, but the nursing program is one of USF’s most highly rated programs, ranking in the top 4% in the nation.
Fry-Bowers is an associate provost for research administration at the University of San Diego and a professor of nursing and public health. Not only does Fry-Bowers bring more than 15 years of experience in higher education, but she also has worked in clinical settings for decades, ranging from community-based clinics to military facilities.
In a statement to the Foghorn, Fry-Bowers said, “One of the things that most attracted me to this position was that the school values a passion for justice. We need to have a passion for justice if we are to take risks, if we are to be audacious, if we are to lead change, embrace diversity, develop health and achieve health equity.”
According to Provost Chinyere Oparah, Fry-Bowers’ experience and values made her a clear choice for the new dean. “What makes Dr. Fry-Bowers ideally suited to join the USF community are her cross-disciplinary and cross-sector perspective and the way she goes about her work: her collaborative nature; her student and faculty centered approach: her commitment to lifting up underserved populations and addressing inequities,” said Oparah.
For sophomore nursing major Juno Chen, “An ideal dean looks like someone who is actively trying to reach out to students and understand us,” said Chen, “I felt like the previous dean really only talked with professors or faculty so there’s been a gap between the dean and the students that I hope closes with the staff change.”
The new deans’ introduction to the University appears to be garnering enthusiasm and excitement from the search committee. “This is a pivotal time for the growth and development of both schools and for the University as we embark on implementing our strategic plan,” Oparah said, “It’s critical that we have the expertise and leadership to accelerate the university’s path to fiscal thriving and continue to advance our vision of inclusive excellence and global social justice.”