The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 3, 2012

MSSU official to return to teaching

By Roger McKinney

JOPLIN, Mo. — A.J. Anglin will step away from his administrative position at Missouri Southern State University in June and take a teaching role.

Anglin has been vice president for academic affairs for two years. He will serve as a faculty member in the department of chemical and physical sciences beginning June 1.

Anglin has been in the spotlight, being in charge this year of making decisions about which faculty members would be cut because of reductions in state funding. Three faculty members with one-year contracts were told that their contracts would not be renewed.

When he came on board in June 2010, MSSU President Bruce Speck’s relationship with the faculty was at a low point. Faculty members expressed hope that Anglin could help repair the relationships.

Speck said that from his standpoint, Anglin succeeded. He said Anglin has represented the faculty well in his meetings with the President’s Council and with the Board of Governors.

“I think he has been very serious in his role as a faculty advocate,” Speck said.

He said Anglin also has been instrumental in instituting shared governance and in developing a strategic plan.

Anglin said he thinks he was successful in helping to repair the damaged relationships.

“I love to work with faculty,” Anglin said. “These are difficult times in terms of budget reductions, but I think I have a good rapport with the typical faculty member.”

He said he acknowledged that not all faculty members would agree.

Demanding position

Anglin said the administrative role is wearing on him.

“This is a demanding position,” he said. “That’s just the nature of administration. That is part of being an administrator. Higher education is changing so fast. State support of education is diminishing. You take what is already demanding and make it more demanding.

“I’m older. We all have to face that. My energy level has substantially changed from last summer to now. I’m at a point in my life where I’m probably going to be able to write one last chapter, and that is teaching.”

Anglin is 69 and has retired twice before.

When he was hired, Anglin said increasing enrollment would be a priority. Enrollment increased slightly in the fall 2010 semester, which saw the largest increase in first-time freshmen since 2006. After the tornado last May, enrollment decreased slightly in the fall of 2011, though not as much as many had predicted.

“I feel the quality of our academic programs is the biggest attraction for students,” Anglin said. “We definitely are moving in the right direction. When there’s a natural catastrophe like the one that happened in Joplin, I think we’ve done well to keep the enrollment decrease as small as it has been.”

Anglin’s transition brings other transitions with it.

Pat Lipira, head of the kinesiology department and interim dean of the School of Education, will move to the position of interim vice president for academic affairs for two years. After that, university officials will conduct a nationwide search.

Crystal Lemmons, head of the department of biology and environmental health, has been named interim assistant vice president for academic affairs and will continue to teach.

Al Cade, head of the department of teacher education and interim associate dean for the School of Education, will now serve as interim dean for the School of Education.


A.J. ANGLIN has been an education administrator for 30 years.