University of North Alabama Professor Jeffery Bibbee was recently promoted to Interim Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. The move follows the retirement of the previous College of Arts and Sciences Dean, Carmen Burkhalter, and the promotion of Associate Dean Sara Lynn Baird to the position of Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Baird became employed with UNA last July.
In regard to the qualifications for the position, Baird was in search of an individual with administrative experience in the college.
“We’re both in interim position for both my position and his position,” said Baird. “We were looking for someone with prior administrative experience that had reached full professor with tenure rank. There were some sort of secondary implications that the administration was searching for while choosing the correct person for the position.”
The administration had a process in the college where they opened the applications to the entire faculty. Their main focus was finding someone that has history on campus, tenure status, and has been a department chair or director of the center.
There were four applicants interviewed. Baird was in communication with the department chairs during the process.
“I’m ultimately the one who made the final decision on who to hire from the pool of candidates,” said Baird. “We had four highly qualified candidates, so was not an easy decision, but we felt like Dr. Bibbee brought all of the requirements plus he has a long history on campus. He has earned the respect of many of his colleagues and administration and that partnered with my status being a relatively newcomer on campus made it, I think a good match.”
Bibbee has been at UNA for 11 years as an assistant professor in the History Department. Originating from Decatur, Alabama, he attended Auburn University for both his Bachelors and Masters which later led him to gaining his PhD in History at King’s College London. From 2014, he was the Chair of the department of history and also a director of the UNA Centre for British Studies. While at UNA, he has taught everything from freshman world history to graduate seminars in his research area of British history and history education.
Bibbee had the opportunity to lead numerous studies abroad and alternative break trips to England, Zimbabwe, Haiti, and Honduras.
He said although he enjoyed the trips, Zimbabwe was a particular highlight as it took him out of my comfort zone and into a very new environment.
“Working with students, our partner organizations – Chipangali Wildlife Orphanage and the Birmingham Zoo – was really exciting and challenging,” said Bibbee. “The most important thing is to support our new dean in her role and to be part of the efficient functioning of the college. The College of Arts and Sciences goals of supporting experiential learning and globalization along with rigorous academic standards have always been goals I have shared as a faculty member and chair.”
Bibbee said he looks forward to being part of those efforts at the college level and that they are always looking to make the university experience better for students whether it is through improved facilities, new programs or new opportunities for travel or work experience.
“After being away from campus last year on a faculty development leave to London, it is really wonderful to be back home at UNA and to work with so many dedicated and exceptional faculty, staff, and students,” said Bibbee. “My door is always open.”
The two words Baird used to describe her colleague, Bibbee, were capable and affable.
“Capable because anything that is put in front of him, he is able to determine the steps we need to take to get that accomplished,” said Baird. “That doesn’t mean he always does it by himself, but he knows what to do to get that done. Affable because he works well with others. His demeanor is positive and friendly and he has a good rapport with the people he comes in contact with.”