Academic Affairs: Through and Through


By Annie Bierman, Staff Writer. Published April 1, 2011

This issue, I decided to profile Dr. Chris Bahr, the Provost and Dean of the University, and Dr. Tami Eggleston, Associate Dean of the University. These two women work everyday to make the academic experience for students better. From the interviews with these two women, I have come to appreciate how much focus McKendree has on enhancing both student learning and teacher effectiveness.

Dr. Chris Bahr is a woman with an overwhelming job description. Her official title is Provost and Dean of the University, but she oversees all academic programs; hiring, training, and evaluating faculty; curriculum development; and academic policies and issues. She also supervises the Library Director, Academic Support Center Director, Dean of the Graduate School, the Associate Dean, Writing Resource Center Director, the Registrar, and the Director of the Center for Public Service. Basically, anything academically related, Dr. Bahr has a hand in it.

Bahr has now been with McKendree for three years and came to McKendree primarily because of the focus on students. She liked the idea of working with an experienced President, and wanted to move back to the St. Louis area, after being gone for 25 years. It took three years to find the “perfect” job and she said she certainly was picky about where she wanted to work.

Finally finding the “perfect” job, she said she definitely loves her job. McKendree is open to change and dynamic. If someone has an idea, he/she could make it happen at McKendree. She feels as if she “can make a difference” and she has yet to find a time where she was ever bored with her job because every day offers something new.

Maybe academically inspired, but her advice to students includes: “pursue something that you enjoy. Follow your passion.” Something else she advised should also resonate with many students, “Don’t be afraid to change your major. The degree opens the door, but it doesn’t dictate what you will do for the rest of your life.”

Dr. Tami Eggleston is both the Associate Dean of the University and a Professor of Psychology. Because of her position as Associate Dean, she only teaches two classes per semester some of which include Human Sexuality, Sports Psychology, and Social Psychology.

As the Associate Dean, she has specific tasks, but also takes on extra projects at the request of the Provost. She oversees all of the contracts and payroll of the part-time faculty members, changes made to the McKendree undergraduate catalog, the distribution of conference funding for full-time faculty, the organization of the faculty “Teaching for Excellence” workshops in January, May, and August, and the faculty training of Blackboard in collaboration with the Instructional Media Office. She also works with the faculty committee SLATE or Student Learning, Assessment, and Teaching Effectiveness. Another project that she put particular emphasis on is the analysis of the student evaluations through the assessment.mckendree.edu that she does. She encourages all students to complete their class evaluations at the end of the semester using the aforementioned site: assessment.mckendree.edu.

Eggleston has been a professor at McKendree for 15 years and has now been Associate Dean for just over three years. She came to McKendree because she went to a small liberal arts college, Morningside College, for her undergraduate degree. She liked McKendree especially because of the energy, enthusiasm, potential for growth, and location to a larger city.

What keeps her at McKendree is much of what drew her here, but also the faculty/student realtionships and connections. She noted that, at other schools, she probably wouldn’t have been able to start a Sports Psychology minor or meet with campus sports teams.

Advice she would give to students includes “major in something you love” and “be engaged” through going to events at the Hett, sporting events, Brown Bags, and the like.