by, Nicole Rodriguez & Samantha Walla, Production Editor & Senior Writer
Cory Blad, Ph.D., professor of sociology, has accepted the position of interim dean of the School of Liberal Arts for the 2021-22 academic year, effective March 1.
Blad first joined Manhattan College in 2009 and has served as the chair of the sociology department since 2016. He has held a variety of significant college-wide service positions including the role as the deputy chair of the Council for Faculty Affairs, co-chair of the Strategic Planning Steering Committee, member of the Middle States Accreditation Committee, and member of the Diversity Council.
Dianna Cruz, assistant Dean of the School of Liberal Arts, believes that Blad is a great fit for this position.
“I was very happy to learn that Cory Blad would be stepping in as the Interim Dean of the School of Liberal Arts. He brings a positive energy and a strong commitment to the role. His past experience as a Professor and Department Chair only adds to the quality leadership and vision he’s already demonstrated,” said Cruz. “It’s apparent he wants what is best for SOLA and the students and has already worked diligently on laying out the path to achieving that goal.”
In preparation for his interim role, Blad stepped away from the classroom and his teaching responsibilities.
“I had to basically drop my teaching responsibilities just because of the time involved. I’m still teaching an independent study, which I’m thankful for, because it’s hard to make a clean break and this semester was going really, really well,” Blad said. “I had a great Roots class, that I was really surprisingly emotional to leave. The senior seminar in sociology, we generally divide up responsibilities as faculty, but you know, I had three mentor students that I was working with, and we had to kind of go through transition and getting them tied in with other people to do their work.”
Students who have taken his courses, like junior history and peace and justice studies major Eunice Nazar, are thankful for what they have learned under his instruction.
“I was grateful to have taken Professor Blad’s course on Migration, Globalization, and Culture,” Nazar said. “Professor Blad is engaging, inspiring and his lectures were powerful. I loved his class. He is an amazing professor who is devoted and deeply passionate, he has taught me so much. It was great learning under him.”
While the shift from professor to interim dean is significant, Blad is hopeful for the future in his new role in administration.
“It’s just hard when you spend your whole career teaching, and that’s basically the huge portion of your job, to not be able to do that anymore is a little bit heartbreaking, in a lot of ways, and more so than I really anticipated I think,” he said. “I’ve still got a tie back, and I’d love to get back in the classroom, once I kind of figure out the context of the job. It’s a pretty significant transition and I’m not ashamed to say that there’s still a lot I don’t know, there’s still a lot of learning. We’ll see what the future brings.”
Despite the significant transition, Blad will continue to put forth his values and teaching style into his work as an interim dean.
“You can change positions, but you really can’t change what you truly believe in and what you think is important in life. And for me, it’s openness, it’s transparency, it’s engagement.”
As interim dean, Blad plans to maintain communication and transparency among students, faculty, staff and administration alike.
“One of the things that I think is unnecessary is creating barriers that don’t necessarily need to exist and a lot of that very quickly transitions into power dynamics that also don’t need to exist. There’s always going to be some semblance of a hierarchy in any organization, but at the same time, it doesn’t have to operate in a non-responsive kind of detached way,” Blad said. “We should be able to talk and I should be able to listen to immediate concerns. I should be able to have the opportunity to learn from, frankly, everybody that I am essentially responsible for, you know that goes for faculty, that goes for staff, that goes for students, that goes for everybody that has a connection with the School of Liberal Arts.”
Blad is not only grateful for having the opportunity to assume this administrative role, but also for the patience and understanding both his colleagues and students have shown during this rapid transition period.
“I can’t thank students, colleagues, staff, enough. Everybody has been incredibly helpful and everybody has been really patient, which is great. There are a lot of answers that I don’t have. There are a lot of things that I’m still learning,” he said. “Knowing that I have a little bit of space to figure those things out is invaluable. I just really appreciate the patience that everybody has shown. I’m excited about the future. I’ll be more excited about the future once I get my feet completely underneath me in the present.”