News Harrod Returning To His First Love - Garrett College
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Campus News

July 4th, 2023

Harrod returning to his first love

Garrett College's CAO leaving for Alaska Anchorage faculty slot

Dr. Harrod

Dr. Ryan Harrod, whose academic discipline is anthropology, was given an anthropology-themed going away party at UNO's last Tuesday night. Harrod, Garrett College's chief academic officer, is leaving to accept a faculty position at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

Dr. Ryan Harrod just loves to teach.

"I'm looking forward to being able to encourage students and help them achieve their academic goals," said Harrod, who has traded in his position as Garrett College's chief academic officer for a faculty position at the University of Alaska Anchorage. "I'm also looking forward to being able to do more research."

Harrod said Garrett College's "strong sense of community" made it a difficult decision to return to University of Alaska Anchorage, where he worked until becoming GC's chief academic officer in 2021.

"Everybody at the College cares about the well-being of the students and wants to support academics and workforce development," said Harrod. "We all want to see our students succeed and help improve the community.

"That collaborative community nature is what I liked the best," he added. "It was the same way with the Senior Leadership Group – we always worked toward the same mission."

Harrod's colleagues credited him with increasing the collaborative nature of the College over the past two years.

"Ryan worked very well across functional divisions at the College," said Dr. JR Kerns, dean of student affairs. "He was able to bring people together and accomplish goals through his cordial nature and persistence.

"Ryan was also very engaged in the community, and quickly became an active leader in Garrett County and the region," added Kerns. "He will be sorely missed by many at the College and in the county."

Dr. Kelli Sisler, director of analytics, institution research, and assessment, agreed with Kerns.

"Ryan's energy and enthusiasm enabled him to establish positive relations with the community, faculty, staff, and students," said Sisler. "He was instrumental in increasing institutional understanding of barriers to student success, and implementing a new model for supporting students who arrive at GC under-prepared in English and math."

Sisler said the new "co-requisite" model Harrod championed "moves students directly into college-level, credit-bearing courses with their peers while providing additional academic support." This model, Sisler said, significantly reduces non-credit coursework for students.

Christa Bowser, previously associate dean for academic affairs, has been named interim chief academic officer. Kym Newmann, previously coordinator of student affairs, has been appointed interim associate dean.

"Christa's experience as a former [biology] faculty member and Kym's student affairs background is going to create a cool collaborative model," said Harrod.

Bowser lauded Harrod's impactful tenure.

"Ryan quickly earned the respect of staff and faculty," said Bowser. "He made great efforts to strengthen Garrett College's relationships with many regional colleges. His ability to open these doors will benefit the College and our students in many ways in the years to come."

"It was too short a time," Bowser said of Harrod's tenure.

Harrod said he appreciated the support of GC's faculty and noted the critical role played by Jeanne Meyers, the College's academic affairs coordinator.

"Jeanne plays a pivotal role in everything that happens in Academic Affairs," said Harrod.

Paul Edwards, director of secondary education for Garrett County Public Schools, said Harrod was a valued partner with the school system.

"Ryan did a great job of partnering with GCPS in expanding dual enrollment opportunities for our students, as well as helping to create pathways for students to earn an Associate's degree simultaneously with their high school diploma," said Edwards. "He was easy to work with, always prioritized students, and was creative with his approach."

Harrod, a Morgantown resident, will actually be in the area for another year, working remotely for University of Alaska Anchorage until August 2024.

His wife, Stephanie, is an attorney who works for West Virginia University. Son Kael is a recent high school graduate working on his emergency medical services certifications, while daughter Amara is a rising sophomore at University High in Morgantown.

"It's clear to everyone that Ryan had a huge positive impact in a very short period of time," said Dr. Richard Midcap, Garrett College's president. "And he totally embraced Garrett College's story. One of the many positive things he's done is bring back the Joan Crawford Lecture Series, which has been very positively received in the community."

Harrod holds a Bachelor's of Science degree in psychology from the University of Utah, a Master's of Arts in anthropology from the University of Idaho, and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He was an adjunct instructor at the College of Southern Nevada and a Barrick Fellow in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas prior to accepting a faculty position at UAA in 2013.