Norma Bouchard, an associate professor of Italian and comparative literary and cultural studies at the University of Connecticut, spoke at the final dean candidate forum Thursday. Credit: Kailan Martin, Senior Lantern Reporter

Norma Bouchard, an associate professor of Italian and comparative literary and cultural studies at the University of Connecticut, is one of the finalists for the College of Arts and Sciences dean position.

In an open forum on Thursday, Bouchard talked about the importance of diversity, inclusion and funding at Ohio State.

She said coming from the University of Connecticut, it was clear to her that two of the strengths that Connecticut and Ohio State share are commitment to access and diversity. Bouchard said among the things she hopes to address if granted the position of dean, she would like to create a diversity major or certificate.

Bouchard addressed the challenge of declining enrollment in the college and strategies to combat the problem, noting that there are reasons both at the national and local levels that are responsible for the decline.

“The strategies a few years ago were if we saw that majors declined, put more courses in the general education course,” she said. “Now that is being redefined, so we have to figure out other ways to bring students back.

Bouchard said one her successes in her current position was the ability to bring in outside funding, adding that she had raised $1.5 million for the LGBTQ community within programs and scholarships over the summer.

During the forum, Bouchard expressed that she understands the concern employees have about job security and tenure.

“We need to make sure that we provide a security of employment,” Bouchard said. “At the same time, advocate the Center of Administration about what’s happening to our tenure track density. It’s something I worry very much about.”

When asked about how she would be efficient in building programs, Bouchard said she’s been successful with funding a variety of programs and working with advancement to strengthen what is already there is a strategy she will bring to Ohio State as well.

With this being the last of the open forums, Alan C. Michaels, dean at the Moritz College of Law and chair of the dean search advisory committee, said he has been honored to be a part of the search for the new dean.

“I am deeply impressed by the breadth of our College of Arts and Sciences, of the reputation that it carries and the engagement of the Arts and Sciences community,” Michaels said.

The forum on Thursday was the final of five forums, with one forum having been cancelled on Tuesday. None of the past three candidates who appeared at forums were internal candidates at Ohio State.

The other candidates who appeared at the forums were Carolyn Thomas, Angela D. Dillard and Gretchen Ritter. The forum for Feb. 19 was canceled.

Thomas, vice provost and dean for undergraduate education at the University of California, Davis, was the first candidate to speak at the forum when she appeared on Feb. 11. Dillard, the associate dean for undergraduate education at the University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science and the Arts, spoke on Feb. 12, while Ritter, the former Harold Tanner Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Cornell University, appeared on Feb. 15.