As the fall semester approaches, Oakland University will gain a new Dean to head the College of Arts and Science. Kevin Corcoran, PhD., will be taking the reins over July 1, and he is bringing a fresh perspective to the position.
Corcoran is familiar with the title of dean, being the Dean for the College of Arts and Science at Northern Kentucky University for the past seven years. Before that he headed the faculty of Psychology for the University of Cincinnati, where he also taught Clinical Psychology.
“One of the things I said to the folks that interviewed me was Oakland strikes me as somewhere in between Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati,” said Corcoran. “It’s sort of a mixture of those two institutions, being really committed to their community and the metropolitan area which they find themselves.”
Corcoran also spoke on the similarities between his college experience and the one typically found at Oakland.
“I was a commuter student,” said Corcoran. “I didn’t see a point living on campus because I was only twenty minutes away. I found a cheap enough used car, and I made my way to campus.”
Corcoran went on to say that his relationship with his deans, as well as his years as a dean at Northern Kentucky University, helped him understand the fundamental principle of his job: the need to be transparent.
“There’s one thing that I find is important with faculty and with the students, and that’s to be visible,” said Corcoran. “Some of the most worthwhile conversations you’ll have will happen completely by accident. So part of what I need to do is be visible.”
His availability to the students and the need to innovate, intrigue and accelerate were key points expressed to the search committee over the long interview process, which involved strenuous travel and interviews with a multitude of critics from Oakland University.
“Well, of course when you get the job you realize that it was enjoyable process,” said Corcoran. “But the hardest part was the airport interview process, which is where I flew out to Detroit and then back to Cincinnati all in one day. All for an hour and a half of interviewing—and literally at the airport!”
Corcoran commented that the headlong process was reflective of the progressiveness of Oakland University.
“One of the questions I always advice people to ask when looking for an academic job is: What’s the biggest threat to moral?” said Corcoran. “A lot of places will say, ‘Well it’s budget cuts,’ or something like that. What the search committee said to me was ‘We’re running out of space because we’re growing so fast.”
Corcoran concluded that the ambition of the university is what drove him to it.
“In 2013, to have a university that’s growing, that’s exciting. I want to be a part of that,” said Corcoran. “It’s not the case everywhere, but people here are excited about the future. This is the place to be.”