Suzanne Ehst is transitioning from her role as professor and director of secondary education, as well as core curriculum director, to the role of associate academic dean. Beth Martin Birky, the current associate academic dean, is retiring at the end of this academic year.

Ehst said, “I’m at a point in my life where I like that [administrative] work … collaboration with colleagues across campus and thinking of the bigger picture.”

Moving to administrative responsibilities means moving away from teaching, which has been a part of Ehst’s life for many years.

“I have been teaching in some form or another since I was 23,” Ehst said. “I taught high school for 10 years and then when I was getting my Ph.D., I was teaching first year composition and then I’ve been here in this position for 10 years as well.” 

After nearly 30 years of teaching, Ehst is “looking forward to a rhythm that is different than the [rhythm of teaching].”

As associate academic dean, Ehst will collaborate with the honors program director, Rob Brennenman, and continue to serve on the advisory committee as an administrative representative. Ehst is excited to “support the development of [the] program in a way that has a lot of integrity, that is accessible, inclusive and exciting for students.”

Ehst will also work with staff in the Title V grant to become a better Hispanic-Serving Institution.

An internal search for the associate academic dean position was conducted by academic dean Ann Vendrely. All staff were invited to consider applying for the job. After going through the whole application process of cover letter, resumes and references, Ehst had an interview with a small search committee. After that, she gave a presentation to faculty, who were then asked to give feedback on her presentation. 

According to Ehst, “It was a formal application process, but when you’re an internal candidate, you have an interview with your colleagues — and then two hours later you’re in a meeting with them like ‘Hey! I hope you liked what I said!’” 

Internal candidacy is not any easier than applying for an outside position. Ehst said, “I think I was more nervous for my presentation here on campus than I would’ve been if I had been applying at a different institution … just because I know so many people across campus and I care about my rapport with them.”

Ehst continued, “I wanted them to feel like this was a wise move and good for the institution. I did feel that pressure of not wanting to let down my people.” 

Even with the pressure of not letting down colleagues, there is excitement in the prospect of moving into a new position and transitioning into a different part of the Goshen College institution.  

On the subject of transition, Ehst noted that “our education department is already conducting a search and is getting close to bringing people to campus.” 

However, Ehst also said, “I will miss my education advisees. … That is the part I will miss the most.”