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Meet Kristina Bross, the Honors Tutorial College’s new dean

Ohio University's Honors Tutorial College is backed by high academic achievements, 35 programs of study, impactful scholarships and a rich 50-year history. Those traits are just some of the reasons Kristina Bross, HTC's newest dean, felt drawn to OU.

"When I saw the position description for Ohio, I was really intrigued by the kind of honors ecosystem that you all have there with the multiple programs and then that long history," Bross said. 

Bross is a professor of English specializing in early English literature. She is the former president of the Society of Early Americanists. 

Currently, Bross is the associate dean for research and creative endeavors at Purdue University's Honors College, a 10-year-old program. Bross was an original member of the task force that helped establish Purdue's Honors College. She has been involved with its growth ever since. 

In her current position, Bross' job is to help undergraduates connect to research and creative opportunities as a part of the honors curriculum. She hopes to bring that skill set to OU.

OU officials announced Bross as the new dean Jan. 26. Bross will follow interim dean Beth Novak, who has served in the position since Jan. 1, 2023.

Last year, Novak was happy to step into the role of interim dean to support HTC, explaining the college has a culture of success, support and acceptance.

"I feel passionate about protecting that culture," Novak said in an email.

As Novak prepares to transition out of her role and welcome Bross, she looks forward to the new leadership.

"I will return to my position of Associate Dean in the college, where I am excited to work hand-in-hand with Dr. Bross as she develops her vision for HTC," Novak said via email. "I believe Dr. Bross will be a transformative leader on campus."

Bross is set to begin her role July 29. Her first goal at OU is simple yet instrumental: listen to students.

"I want to meet with students," Bross said. "I want to hear what they love about their programs, what they maybe wish could be built out of their programs, and get to know them a lot better."

As Bross prepares to transition from West Lafayette, Indiana, to Athens, HTC students have begun discussing what new leadership means to them.

Evan Carlisle, a senior studying math, has been a part of the HTC program for four years. He has seen the transition between Dean Donal Skinner, who stepped down from his role in 2022, to Interim Dean Novak. 

Though Carlisle will not see Bross take on her role this summer, he said during his four years, HTC leadership has been consistent in their policies, making the program an invaluable experience for students.

"It's helped really make my time at Ohio University very special," Carlisle said. 

Hiley Kresse, a junior studying communications, is a member of the HTC student council and hopes a new dean will mean more attention to detail among HTC leadership. 

"I think having a new full-time dean will definitely help in terms of having more campus involvement," Kresse said. "I know that the student council is excited to get to talk to the dean and get to figure out more all-college events that we can plan."

Kresse recalled Dean Skinner always made himself available to students who needed help in any capacity. She explained it always seemed that he was only one email away. She hopes the tradition of staying connected with students continues as Bross takes on her role. 

Ryan Humeniuk, a junior studying economics, feels that open communication between the new dean and current students will maintain HTC's current community-based culture. 

"Just getting an understanding of how the culture among the students is, would probably be a big help," Humeniuk said. 

Working together with other faculty and students is exactly what Bross said she plans to do.

"(OU) seems like a place where people are working together and that's important to me," she said. "Even if people have different ideas of how to get to the goal, everybody's still working hard to get there. That was clear."

As her start date approaches, students aim to make Bross feel right at "hOUme."

"We're very excited to see her," Kresse said. "Going a year without a permanent dean, I know has made some people antsy in the college. So, just letting her know that she's welcome." 


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