Sherrill Soman named dean of College of Education


COURTESY \ Bernadine Carey Tucker

Rachel Matuszewski, Staff Reporter

Grand Valley State University Provost Maria Cimitile has named Dr. Sherril Soman the new dean of the College of Education. Soman has been working as interim dean since Aug. 1, 2018 and is excited to continue preparing important work for future teachers and educational leaders. Provost Cimitile spoke highly of her qualifications for her new position. 

“Soman has successfully served in the interim dean role for over a year and has built solid relationships with, and garnered the support and trust of, faculty and staff within the college as well as colleagues from across the university and the local community,” Cimitile said. “She has an evidenced commitment to student success. She is a collaborative leader and has broad depth of administrative experiences throughout her career at Grand Valley. I know she will be a true asset to the college and university in this dean role.” 

Soman has held various positions at GVSU, where she began working as a chemistry professor in 2000. She has also worked as associate vice president for Enrollment Development and University Registrar, director of Financial Aid, interim assistant vice president for Academic Affairs and interim associate dean in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

“Each position has afforded me the opportunity to view the university from a variety of lenses and allowed me to acquire more well-rounded knowledge of how the institution works,” Soman said. “I chose GVSU because of the university’s focus on students and the close connections that we foster with students. As a faculty member and in my administrative roles, I’ve had the opportunity to engage with our students in the role of teacher and as a teacher scholar. This has always been a hallmark of our work at Grand Valley and we have maintained this as the core of our work.” 

Similar to her other responsibilities in leadership, Soman’s goal is to make sure future educators from GVSU for their future roles, as well as preparing future faculty members to help. 

Soman advises future education majors that engaging in the field of education is one of the most rewarding pursuits and has a deep impact on our society. Just as many GVSU alumni could recall the significance of their past professors or high school teachers, she hopes future GVSU educators will make the same impact on future generations. 

“I would want those planning to pursue the teaching profession to understand that the ability to impact quality of life for others is never more evident than when that impact happens in an educational setting,” Soman said. “It may seem clichéd but there is an almost indescribable sense of accomplishment to be a part of students engaging in acquiring and applying knowledge… The intellectual growth that can be fostered by guiding students is invaluable and has a lifetime of benefits.”

Although her variety of roles within the university have differed, Soman attributes each of them but have provided her with leadership opportunities in academic affairs and services.

Cimitile said, “Dean Soman has extensive expertise in curriculum development, assessment and strategic planning. She will be proactive in building relationships with key constituencies and serve as a compelling spokesperson for the college in shaping the local and national conversation on education.”