MC president’s leadership team in place

MARIETTA – Marietta College President Joseph Bruno is no longer the new kid on the block among the school’s leadership.

Starting his second year at the helm of the 178-year-old institution, Bruno recently welcomed a pair of cabinet members aboard – Provost and Dean of Faculty Karyn Sproles and Vice President for Advancement Joseph Sandman.

“Obviously they hold two of the most important positions on our campus,” Bruno said.

Sandman joined the college June 1 after a year with Chicago-based philanthropic management consultants Grenzebach Glier and Associates and more than 30 years of development experience in higher education. Sproles started July 1, coming from Carlow University in Pittsburgh, where she was dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Bruno said both are enthusiastic and energetic additions to a staff working to prepare students for careers that will likely change dramatically over their lifetimes.

Sproles noted today’s college students may have seven to a dozen different jobs before they retire.

“I would be willing to bet the last half of their careers are going to be in professions we don’t even know about yet,” she said.

She and Sandman agreed Marietta College’s liberal arts curriculum is an excellent foundation for that – and something that attracted both of them to the school.

“I’m a big believer that when you get that liberal arts degree, it’s the best preparation anyone could ask for,” Sandman said.

Sproles said the liberal arts focus teaches students not only specific concepts but also the ability to learn and adapt to new ones through an emphasis on critical thinking and communication, skills that are useful in any field.

“You’re not learning applications that are going to be outdated” in a few years, she said. “(Students will) understand how to educate themselves.”

Sproles said Marietta already has a number of distinctive programs, including petroleum engineering, which is even more in the spotlight as interest in obtaining oil and natural gas from underground shale deposits continues.

One of her goals is to build on that, not just in petroleum engineering and geology, but also in related fields, such as media and marketing. Some students may be interested in the oil and gas industry overall, but their skills might be better suited to other areas, Sproles said.

She wants to see students “engage their passion,” not just earn a paycheck.

One of Sandman’s main responsibilities will be carrying out Bruno’s vision to make sure Marietta College isn’t continually described as a “well-kept secret.”

“We provide as good an education as you’re likely to find in the United States to, really, outstanding students,” Bruno said.

Sandman’s job involves fundraising, but also other forms of advancement for the college, such as engaging alumni and getting their support in a variety of ways, perhaps through recruiting new students or offering internships. One approach to that is targeting cities where there are “clusters of alums” and other strategic interests for the college, such as recruiting. Among those areas being considered for more active alumni groups are Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Boston, as well as Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus.

Sandman said he expects to work closely with and support Sproles, and not just because as provost she’ll be in charge of the college when Bruno is off-campus.

“She’s also in charge of the most important thing – academics,” he said. “Our job is to help provide the resources and the engagement to support the president’s vision and the academic” programs.

Bruno said he’s enjoyed getting to know the community in his year at Marietta, not only on-campus but in and around the city as well.

The college’s next major focus is preparing for re-accreditation in a couple of years. Not only is that a practical matter, Bruno said, but it also serves as “a kind of renewal and a chance to reflect on the institution and our mission.”