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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Honors College hires new associate dean

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By marina
Peter Tschirhart, has taken the role of associate dean of the Honors College. Photo by Marina Bustillo-Mendoza | Staff Photographer

The new associate dean of the Honors College has completed his first week on campus after a competitive, committee-run hiring process.
Peter Tschirhart comes into this position with a goal of further expanding the unique learning opportunities already offered in the Honors College. His first week on campus was spent learning new names and greeting new faces.
Following months of extensive research, Texas State hired Tschirhart as the new associate dean of the honors college. Tschirhart, a man with a passion for fitness and the arts, has coordinated with honors programs before and has research in developing sound maps.
“I want to figure out how to take engagement in the honors college to the next level,” Tschirhart said. “I want to find ways to incorporate active-learning strategies. Can we find ways to spread our impact on the community by engaging real-world projects?”
Heather Galloway, dean of the Honors College, was involved in the hiring process.
“Our staff is doing an excellent job in many ways but for us to grow and expand, we can’t do the same old things,” Galloway said. “We need to try new things and be willing to be innovative. He is a very innovative thinker but also very passionate about art and ideas.”
Previously, Tschirhart was the assistant dean for undergraduate scholars programs at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York. He worked with students to enrich learning experiences through specialized programming. He also worked as the assistant director of admission at Rice University, a lecturer at the University of Virginia, and a coordinator of studies at the University of Virginia’s Hereford College.
In line with his research, Tschirhart’s interests revolve around the arts. An avid museum-goer, Tschirhart’s latest favorite is Olafur Eliasson’s “Beauty, 1993,” an installation consisting of fine mist illuminated by a beam of light, effectively producing a rainbow with its intensity dependent on the viewer’s position.
“I like staying on top of artists who challenge our sense of reality and our subjectivity,” Tschirhart said. “I love things that ask us to change how we view the world.”
Toward the end of the spring of 2017, a search committee was founded to find an associate dean. Each member of the committee scored applicants individually, and then the committee discussed the top applicants.
Tyler Hooks, computer science junior, was the only student on the search committee and was involved from the beginning of the search. She responded to an email from Galloway asking if she would be interested in joining the committee, which led to her involvement.
“One thing that the committee really loves about him is that he had a lot of fresh ideas,” Hooks said. “He was ready to hit the ground running and change things.”
As a part of the selection process, the three final applicants were given a mock class to lecture as a way of identifying teaching mannerisms and student interactions.
Holly Hearn, a public relations and mass communications senior in the honors college, attended Tschirhart’s mock problem-solving class titled “A Little Less Noise There.”
“Dr. Tschirhart was really prepared. He knew what he was doing,” Hearn said. “He was actively getting students involved rather than just telling us information. He was having us do exercises, which helped get the message of the lecture across.”

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