May 8th, 2023
GC to award Allen dean emeritus status
Retired dean honored for 31 years' service to College and its students
Jim Allen will be awarded the status of "dean emeritus" at Garrett College's May 20th commencement.
Jim Allen expected Garrett College to be a temporary career stop. If so, Allen's 31 years at GC dramatically stretches the definition of "temporary".
"After working as a missionary in Nepal for three years, I was seeking a position at a college or university," recalled Allen, who will be bestowed the title of "dean emeritus" at Garrett College's commencement exercises on May 20th.
"We happened to be visiting my sister-in-law and her husband in Grantsville when a friend of theirs told me about an opening at Garrett College," continued Allen. "I applied and was offered the position. Initially I only planned to stay for three years."
Allen, who started at GC as director of the College's technical/career programs, went on to serve in a variety of administrative and faculty roles. He was an earth science professor, interim dean of instruction, acting chief academic officer on multiple occasions, and finally served as dean of instructional and institutional effectiveness.
"My fondest memory of working at Garrett College was the family atmosphere," said Allen, noting that was one of the many advantages of working at a small college. "I also fondly remember many of the students I taught over the years. Even the small impact I may have had on their lives made my job especially rewarding."
Allen said one of his most important accomplishments at GC was "helping to redesign the College's degree program in wildlife management to become the Natural Resources & Wildlife Technology program." Relatedly, he said NRWT Professor Kevin Dodge is "the person who has known me the longest and who probably knows me the best."
"Without Jim, there would be no Natural Resources and Wildlife Technology program," said Dodge. "He patiently and skillfully helped open my eyes to what technical education is all about, and he guided me through the process of revising what was the Wildlife Management Technology program and turning it into the top-notch academic major it is today."
Dr. Richard Midcap, Garrett College's president, said Allen's service as the College's accreditation liaison officer (ALO) may have been his most important institutional contribution.
"Accreditation through the Middle States Commission on Higher Education is particularly rigorous," said Midcap. "It takes years for an institution to properly prepare for each reaccreditation cycle.
"As our ALO, Jim provided incredible leadership and coordination leading up to our last reaccreditation in 2020," continued Midcap. "The College was judged to have met all seven standards and all 15 requirements of affiliation, with a commendation for the College's approach to the reaccreditation visit."
Midcap said Allen's contributions to the 2020 reaccreditation say a lot about his work ethic.
"Jim was well into his final year at Garrett College when we completed the reaccreditation process – but he was totally engaged in doing a great job for the College right up until the day he retired," said Midcap.
"Jim cared about every aspect of the College and was very committed to meeting student needs," said Kelli Sisler, Garrett College's director of analytics, institutional research, and assessment.
"He was also very conscientious about assessment and accreditation," added Sisler, who succeeded Allen as the College's accreditation liaison officer.
Allen – who resides in Morgantown with his wife, Karen – said the awarding of emeritus status was "totally unexpected."
"I was very surprised," said Allen, "but also pleased."