Leadership transitions

This summer will be one of transition at Cornell College, with President Les Garner leaving in late June, Jim Brown taking over as interim president, and Joseph Dieker appointed Dean and chief academic officer starting July 1.

Les Garner

Les Garner

Garner announced in late February that after nearly 16 years as president of the college, he was leaving to become president and CEO of the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation.

In a statement to the college community, Garner said, “Leading the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation is a unique opportunity for me. The foundation is playing a leadership role in rebuilding and strengthening the Cedar Rapids area in the wake of the 2008 flood. I look forward to my new role in shaping the future of the region.”

In May the college’s Board of Trustees named Jim Brown, who most recently served as special assistant to the president, as interim president, effective July 1. A search firm has been hired to assist in the search for Cornell’s 15th president.

In selecting Brown, the Board of Trustees found an interim president who is familiar with the college and will continue the progress started under Garner, according to John Smith ’71, president of the Board of Trustees.

“Jim has served the college extremely well, and has been a longtime advisor to President Garner,” Smith said. “The board has complete faith that under his leadership, Cornell will continue its growth even as we search for a permanent president.”

Brown arrived at Cornell in 1990 as a psychology professor. He served as associate dean of the college and director of institutional research, and provided interim leadership in the Registrar’s Office and Information Technology. Dieker will join the college after serving as dean for six years at Culver-Stockton, a liberal arts college in Canton, Mo.

Joseph Dieker

Joseph Dieker

Dieker came to Culver-Stockton as an associate professor of music in 1989 after a nine-year term on faculty at Warner Pacific College in Portland, Ore. He succeeds Chris Carlson, a Cornell professor emeritus of sociology who is serving a two-year term as dean.

A native of Portland, Dieker earned a bachelor’s degree from Warner Pacific, a master of music degree from the University of Oregon, and a doctor of musical arts degree from Arizona State University. Culver-Stockton introduced a 12/3 academic calendar in 2008, featuring a three-week term at the end of each semester similar to Cornell’s One Course At A Time calendar.

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