From the Dean: Promotion and tenure

Here’s an update on the review process for the next Associate Dean for Administration and Finance (A&F) at the UND SMHS. As you may recall, Dr. Judy Solberg, chief of staff in the Office of the Dean, has been doing phenomenal service in overseeing operations in A&F since the departure of Laura Block. This, of course, is in addition to her usual responsibilities as chief of staff! An important reason why things have gone so smoothly – in addition to Judy’s incredible leadership – has been the hard work, maturity, and excellence of the staff in the office. So a big “thank you” to all of you!

Working with Peggy Varberg, associate vice president of UND Human Resources and Payroll Services, we have narrowed the list of candidates to five outstanding people, all with substantial medical and/or health sciences experience. We plan to begin the interview process shortly, which will be conducted by the School’s Executive Committee. The committee will then recommend a “short list” of finalists to me with an analysis of the candidates’ perceived strengths and weaknesses. I plan to get input from the staff in A&F, which, along with my own interview and assessment of the candidates, will allow me to make a final decision. An employment offer will then follow, and we should have a new associate dean in place! I think it is reasonable to hope that this entire process plays out over no longer than the next month.

On another note, the medical student program held its annual Medical Curriculum Retreat yesterday. I’ll summarize the major findings and plans in the near future with an update here. Suffice it to say that there was a lot to discuss, especially with the ongoing implementation of our new curriculum. There have been a few (expected) bumps in the road with the introduction of the new curriculum, but the curriculum really was in need of major upgrades, as it had been in place since it was completely revised in 1997. While there have been substantial modifications over the nearly 25 years since our last revision, it was time to do this major overhaul. We debated as to whether we should hold off on the curricular renewal until after our accreditation visit this coming spring, but we made the correct decision to proceed now. This does increase the chance that the Liaison Committee on Medical Education review committee will deem the impact of some of our efforts as “too early to tell” and thus request follow-up information and data to confirm that we are on the right track, but so be it. Delaying the curricular changes for several years would not have been in the best interest of our current and future students, and so we took a deep breath and went forward.

Finally, congratulations to our faculty members who were honored at last night’s UND Tenure and Promotion Dinner celebration. For faculty members, the recognition that comes from promotion and/or tenure is a really big deal, and I’d like to congratulate each and every one of our honorees from the past two years. I well can remember the day when I learned of my own tenure designation, as well as each promotional step from instructor through professor. Here is a list of the UND SMHS faculty who were recognized:

Promotion Academic Year 2019-20 (Effective July 1, 2020)

  • Cristina Oancea, Population Health, Assistant Professor to Associate Professor w/Tenure
  • Cheri Graves, Occupational Therapy, Instructor to Assistant Professor
  • Eric Johnson, Family & Community Medicine, Associate Professor to Professor
  • James Beal, Family & Community Medicine, Associate Professor to Professor
  • Schawnn Decker, Physical Therapy, Teaching Assistant Professor to Teaching Associate Professor
  • Michelle LaBrecque, Physical Therapy, Teaching Assistant Professor to Teaching Associate Professor
  • Sue Jeno, Physical Therapy, Associate Professor to Professor
  • Meridee Danks, Physical Therapy, Assistant Professor to Associate Professor
  • Jake Thompson, Sports Medicine, Instructor to Assistant Professor

Promotion Academic Year 2020-21 (Effective July 1, 2021)

  • Junguk Hur, Biomedical Sciences, Assistant Professor to Associate Professor w/Tenure
  • Chernet Tessema, Biomedical Sciences, Assistant Professor to Associate Professor
  • Jon Allen, Internal Medicine/Simulation Center, Associate Professor to Professor
  • Abe Sahmoun, Internal Medicine, Associate Professor to Professor
  • Kelly Dornbier, Occupational Therapy, Instructor to Assistant Professor
  • Breann Lamborn, Occupational Therapy, Assistant Professor to Associate Professor
  • Andrea Young, Occupational Therapy, Instructor to Assistant Professor
  • Mandy Meyer, Occupational Therapy, Assistant Professor to Associate Professor
  • Jeanie McHugo, Physician Assistant Studies, Associate Professor to Professor
  • Steve Westereng, Sports Medicine, Assistant Professor to Associate Professor

Congratulations and best wishes to all!

Joshua Wynne, MD, MBA, MPH
Vice President for Health Affairs, UND
Dean, UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences