Associate Dean of the Honors College Matthew Zierler will be recommended as interim dean of the college, following Cynthia Jackson-Elmoore's decision to accept the position of provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at California Polytechnic State University.
"I've worked more or less formally with Dean Jackson-Elmoore since the beginning of her tenure, and she's been a great leader of the college," Zierler said. "She's worked closely with me and with others to ensure that it will be a relatively smooth transition so that we can still provide the best experience for the students."
He will begin serving as interim dean-designee June 13. His appointment will go before the MSU Board of Trustees for consideration at their June 26 meeting. Zierler said there is no formal timeline yet for his time in the post.
Zierler will be beginning this role during the COVID-19 pandemic and while the university plans to transition back from the online instruction of the spring semester to hybrid, in-person instruction on campus.
"I was heartened by how well everyone adapted in the spring transition to the remote learning," Zierler said. "I know we're already working on a plan for the fall. I believe everyone would probably agree that we'd rather be together in person, but we've been really thoughtful about how we can still provide great experiences for students and the faculty and staff."
He added the importance of continuing to find ways to engage with current and incoming honors students, "It's a challenge in the sense that I'd prefer to be with all the students together at once, but we know that we can make these transitions."
There were nearly 4,000 students in the honors college in the fall 2019 semester, according to the fall semester enrollment report.
"I look forward to working with the dedicated staff and faculty of the Honors College to support all of our hardworking students during this transition,” Zierler said in a MSU Today release. “The Honors College has been an important part of my MSU career, and I plan to ensure it continues to provide an important space for our students to achieve their goals.”
Zierler is an associate professor in James Madison College since August 2003. He has served as an Honors College faculty fellow with the National and International Fellowships and Scholarships, or NIFS, office from August 2013 to December 2016, where his appointment was then split between the Honors College and James Madison College.
As an Honors College faculty fellow, Zierler has helped recruit and mentor students applying for major awards and has also supervised eight honors theses in James Madison College.
Prior to that appointment, Zierler served as a member of the MSU selection committees for the James C. Gaither Junior Fellows Program, Marshall Scholarship, Mitchell Scholarship, Rhodes Scholarship and Truman Scholarship for 10 years.
Zierler earned a bachelor’s degree in international affairs from George Washington University and master’s degree and doctorate in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.