Without a public announcement about upcoming organizational changes to the College of General Studies, former associate dean Cristina Ruggiero left the position in February.
Pitt spokesperson Joe Miksch said her departure was the result of “pending organizational changes” that have eliminated the position in the University. The CGS staff knew that Ruggiero would be leaving beforehand, but the University did not announce her exit.
The Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences posted a job listing online for a new position — “assistant dean” of CGS — in late February.
Ruggiero did not respond to phone calls and emails asking for comment. Members of the CGS faculty also declined to comment on her leave or the changes.
The college will hire an assistant dean for academic affairs and expand the responsibilities of the director of the McCarl Center for Nontraditional Student Success. The center provides tutoring services, career development seminars and networking opportunities for nontraditional students in the College of General Studies.
With the new leadership in place, the assistant dean of academic affairs will create and evaluate new majors, minors and certificates, focus on CGS’s academic programming and chair the CGS Academic Council. In addition to academic responsibilities, the assistant dean will regulate student’s compliance with academic regulations, hear and judge student appeals and work closely with the Director of the McCarl Center.
The McCarl Center’s director will serve as CGS’s administrative leader while working to develop programs to help nontraditional students during their time at Pitt and after graduation.
Miksch said the University is currently interviewing candidates for the director’s position and looking for an experienced Pitt faculty member for the assistant dean position. According to the job listing for the position, the assistant dean will report to the associate dean for undergraduate studies in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, currently John Twyning. Pitt is accepting applications until the end of March, and the new assistant dean will begin their job on May 1.
“A transition team is working with CGS staff members to ensure continuity while the College’s permanent leadership team is identified and brought on-board,” Miksch said.
Miksch told The Pitt News in an email March 13 he could not elaborate further on the organizational changes.
Before leaving this year, Ruggiero was appointed associate dean of the school in 2012 and served as the assistant dean of student affairs in 2008.
During her time at CGS, she developed a program to identify at-risk students and provide advising programs for them. She also revised a summer scholarship program for underrepresented students, resulting in a 93 percent retention and graduation rate of all students receiving the scholarship from as her time as assistant dean.
“Associate Dean Cristina Ruggiero has well-positioned the College of General Studies for the future,” Miksch said.