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The Antelope

Longtime biology professor takes over as interim dean

Ryan Teten, the College of the Arts and Sciences dean, unexpectedly resigned on Sept. 23. Paul Twigg, a biology professor, was named interim dean in his place. 

Teten has not responded to The Antelope.

“I’m sure everyone was shocked by the departure of Dr. Teten,” Twigg said. “So, we want to lend stability that assures we have our act together and that we know what’s going on.”

Twigg will be serving for two years before UNK searches for a permanent dean. The search for a replacement won’t begin until next school year.

Kristen Majocha, the senior vice chancellor of Academic Affairs, said in an email that this process usually takes anywhere from several months to a year. 

Twigg has been at UNK since 1992. He held many leadership roles throughout the university.

He was interim chair for the Music, Theatre and Dance Department. In 2016, he became associate dean for the former College of Natural and Social Sciences for two years. He has served as associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences since 2018.

Following Teten’s departure, the first step was to immediately name an interim dean.

“Dr. Twigg has received the approval of President Carter and is awaiting final approval from the Board of Regents,” Majocha wrote. “He is acting as the interim dean in the meantime.”

To be approved by the Board of Regents, Twigg must go through the appointment process. Since he missed the approval deadline for the Sept. 30 meeting, they will have to wait and vote at the Dec. 2 meeting.

Due to Twigg’s previous associate dean position, his classes were already cut back. Now, serving as interim dean, he doesn’t anticipate teaching any classes the 2023-24 school year. 

While he may not be teaching classes, he still has projects he plans to continue developing. 

One of those projects being the Science Explorers Academy, a grant-funded program to recruit high school students into the health science program at UNK.

This project is still ongoing, and will continue after these two years, whether he continues as dean of College of Arts and Sciences or someone else takes over.

“I want faculty and students alike to feel like this transition isn’t something that is going to affect them,” Twigg said. “That we in this office have a handle on things, that we got this.”

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