Anna-Catherine Kueng ~ Assistant Editor

On Jan. 10, 2019, Debra Wyland sent an email announcing Dr. Allison Jablonski would become the new provost for the 2019-20 school year at the University of Lynchburg,  upon Dr. Sally Selden’s departure. In the email, Wyland stated, “Dr. Selden and I, along with Board Chair Mr. Nat Marshall, are unanimous in our conviction that Dr. Jablonski is a perfect leader for this position and will seamlessly continue the strong advances recently made in the academic division under Dr. Selden.” 

     Dr. Sabita Manian, Associate Dean, College of Arts & Sciences and professor of international relations, said, “I know no one on this campus who would disagree with me in describing Dr. Jablonski as a person of integrity and a diligent professional who is committed to our university and our educational mission. She manifests a humane and compassionate style of administration that calibrates her deliberative and decisive decision-making in the interest of our campus. She is a woman of science and reason as well as of deep faith – a somewhat uncommon combination. Even outside our campus, in Lynchburg City’s social circles, Dr. Jablonski is highly respected and has a reputation as a unique individual known for her candor, thoughtfulness, and commitment especially to issues of social justice.” 

     According to the University of Lynchburg website, “Dr. Jablonski has taught upper-level biology and biomedical science classes at Lynchburg since 1998…serving as associate dean for academic affairs since 2015. Dr. Jablonski also helped guide the development of the DELL Curriculum, a new general education program that will foster lifelong learning and critical-thinking skills.” 

     Dr. Jablonski explained that her past experience has prepared her for her new role. She said, “I taught primarily undergraduate students for 17 years before I became an associate dean and I have a good understanding of what undergraduates need in the classroom, and that helps me as the provost to understand faculty development. In other words, helping faculty understand what they need in order to be able to be good teachers, what their students need, and how to create a productive learning environment so that the students learn all they are supposed to learn and need to learn.” 

     Dr. Manian added, “As a well-respected and well-loved professor of biology and bio-med, who has served in key campus committees, Dr. Jablonski brings a wealth of knowledge and experience, she intimately knows our campus’ needs, and [she] represents a continuity in administrative leadership at a time when our institution has morphed from a college to a university, and as we seek new leadership under a new university president next year.” 

      Furthermore, Dr. Jablonski is familiar with the university and has seen it improved over the years since coming to Lynchburg College in 1998. She said, “There have been new buildings built, like Schewel Hall. There is a new student center and a new residence hall. We have had upgrades in facilities. We have tremendous growth in graduate programs since I came here. The number of graduate students has increased and I think that engagement of students has increased, as well. Learning styles have changed over the years. We use a whole lot more technology now in the classroom, and outside of the classroom, and our students come to us a little bit different in terms of their comfort with technology. Those are the major changes I think.” 

     Dr. Jablonski noted that, “The things that have stayed the same are that the students are still willing to work hard and to really get their feet wet with experiential learning. They really want to know what it is going to be like to work in their fields and that has been true since I came here.” 

     However, she also sees room  for improvement in the future, she said, “I think we have some needs in facilities in athletics and as well in the science building. We can keep our focus on what students need for postgraduate, whether that be education or job training or preparation for life post Lynchburg, so that is a way we can continue to improve what we offer our students.” 

      Dr. Jablonski wants to continue maintaining the positive reputation the University of Lynchburg has, saying, “Our reputation should be one where we are accepting, diverse, and family-like, but still offer a large variety of opportunities for our students. So we often tout the fact that we are a community and a close-knit one, and I would like to see us maintain that community sense but move toward more university-like offerings in terms of majors and minors and facilities, like a larger university. It is really the best of both worlds. A smaller campus but broad opportunities.” 

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