New dean anticipates changes for Social Sciences

IUS Horizon

Joe Wert, dean of the School of Social Sciences

Joe Wert, the new dean of the School of Social Sciences, was recently promoted to his new position as dean. He took office on Aug. 2.

Due to his previous administrative experience, Wert decided to take the position as dean.

“I was the coordinator of the Political Science Department for about seven years,” Wert said. “I was also a part of the faculty senate for two years. I like that kind of role and the abilities I have to be of service to the School of Social Sciences.”

Wert has been training for various aspects of his new job.

“I have been getting familiar with the budget and I have been learning how to use some of the computer programs needed for the job,” Wert said. “I have a role in hiring, promotions and tenure decisions. I am basically a go-between for the faculty and upper-administration.”

Wert said he plans for changes to take place while he is dean.

“Of course, there are going to be changes,” Wert said. “We are hiring some new faculty at this moment. We will be hiring two new criminal justice professors, a new director for the Applied Research Center and a new administrative assistant was hired on the same day I was.”

Abbi Kelly, administrative assistant to the dean of Social Sciences, said she enjoys working with Wert.

“He’s such a good person,” Kelly said. “I really like working with the university and the staff here in this office.”

Wert said, with the right resources, more changes would take place.

“The Journalism Department needs more professors,” Wert said. “If the resources were available, I would hire more. With the budget and the way the economy is right now, it is difficult to come up with new positions. Opening new faculty lines is difficult. Criminal justice and psychology could use at least one more professor, but journalism has the biggest need for them right now.”

Along with training for his new position as dean, Wert is teaching political science courses, as well.

“I am teaching senior seminar and administrative law this semester,” he said. “I will continue to teach at least one class each semester.”

Wert began working for IU Southeast in August 1999 as an associate professor of political science.

“I taught what is called a public service track,” Wert said. “It focused on government agencies, applied research, budgeting and personnel management. I would rotate four courses within the Political Science Department.”

Before coming to IU Southeast, Wert taught at Northern Kentucky University.

“I had a one-year visiting position and then was an adjunct there for three years while pursuing my Ph.D.,” he said. “I taught mainly intro to American politics and research methods.”

In his spare time, Wert said he likes to read and listen to music.

“I like some classical music, and I enjoy ‘70s rock,” he said.

Although Wert is very accomplished, he said he  wants more.

“I have been nominated for the outstanding teacher award a few times, but I have never won,” Wert said.

Brigette Adams, faculty secretary for the School of Social Sciences, said she thinks Wert was a good choice for the new dean promotion.

“Things have been running very smoothly, and he is such a nice person,” Adams said.