Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan


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The Age of Interims

Doctor Kara Lindaman was interviewed about her new position in her office, Minne Hall, on August 31, 2023. For over seven years Linderman has had a role in the WSU community. Linderman is the new Interim for the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts.

Winona State University (WSU) experienced a summer of change that included many staff members shifting around at the university. With some retiring and some choosing to move elsewhere, other members applied for positions that were out of their comfort zone. For Kara Lindaman and Kenneth Janz, these new positions are on quite the opposite side of their comfort zones.

Lindaman first joined WSU in 2006 as a Professor of Political Science and Public Administration. She is currently the Chair of the Department of Political Science, Public Administration and Ethnic Studies. Additionally, she has held positions as the Coordinator of the American Democracy Project, NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative, IFO Board of Directors, and WSU Faculty Association Executive Committee.

When the position for Dean of the College of Liberal Arts opened last year, Lindaman was a part of the search committee that attempted to fill that spot. After months of interviews and reviewing applications, the search was deemed a failure, and the call for an interim was put out.

“People asked me whether or not I would apply, and the people who inquired were very special faculty members to me in the sense that they were members who traditionally did not have a voice or a seat at the table,” Lindaman said. “So, for me to learn that they thought I could provide that access, that was very meaningful to me.”

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Kenneth Janz has also stepped into a much larger role. Previously, after joining WSU in 2008, he was Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs, Chief Information Officer and Dean of the Library and head of IT. However, as of August 1st, he has become the interim president of the university.

“When I heard Scott Olson [WSU’s former president] was offered the Chancellor position, I had no intention of actually applying to be interim president,” Janz said. “I had a lot of people knocking on my door telling me to consider it.”

Like Lindaman, Janz had coworkers telling him to apply, so he went to Olson for advice.

“After having a number of people telling me to apply, I actually came to Scott’s office and asked for advice,” Janz said. “He told me, “No promises you’ll get an interview, but just throw your name in there and apply,’ and that’s all he said. So, I did, and about a week later, I was one of the three finalists.”

Both Lindaman and Janz highlighted extreme passion and love for WSU.

“I have been at this place for a very long time, and I love this place,” Lindaman said. “There’s a lot that we know to be good stewards of this place that I feel like I could contribute to.”

Janz had similar thoughts and explained that his passion helped ease his decision to apply for the role.

“I’m doing it because I absolutely adore Winona State,” Janz said. “It is my home. My daughter graduated from here and she loved this institution, so I guess, at the end of the day, I just wanted to provide a solid leadership transition to the next president.”

Lindaman further expressed her need to be challenged in every position she has been at, and how she constantly wants to grow.

“It’s kind of why I went to athletics a while ago, it’s like, wow, I would love the challenge to see if I could actually learn things that I don’t understand,” Lindaman said. “It’s that process that is super exhilarating and painful at the same time because it’s just an unusual way of looking at things. I mean, I’m old, and I’m to the point where I wonder if I can even learn something new, and it’s been exciting to feel my mind work in new and separate ways.”

Lindaman touched on her daily duties and what she has been working on this past month.

“In here, it’s a lot of meetings,” Lindaman said. “The College of Liberal Arts is the biggest college, so if you have over 100 faculty, just meeting with individual members and their concerns takes up a lot more time and headspace.”

For Janz, he had to get used to much longer hours in his new role.

“I would say compared to my previous positions, with this one, you’re on 24/7,” Janz said. “I knew that was true but didn’t realize how true it was.”

One of the hardest adjustments for Lindaman is her missing the close connection she normally built with the students.

“That’s probably the biggest loss in my life,” Lindaman. “I had to give up teaching my courses, but I didn’t give up my orientation class because I have taught orientation since the very first day I walked onto this job. It’s my favorite time of the semester and I love first year students. It’s rewarding for me to meet a first-year student and then see where they are at graduation, and I believe that’s why we’re here.”

For Janz, his biggest challenge is that he tends to be more on the introverted side. He can prep for speeches and talks and handle them well, but he struggles working larger crowds.

“I thought the world of Scott Olson because he was such a relater, he could talk to anybody,” Janz said. “I have to work really hard to do that, so in some ways, I think we’d be a great institution if we found someone who is really, really good at that.”

However, Janz wanted students to know that though he is quieter, he loves meeting and speaking with new people.

“I’m not always the most forward person, so you can introduce yourself to me and I’ll talk to anybody,” Janz said. “It’s the only thing I still struggle with, so feel free to talk to me too.”

Lindaman was extremely excited to speak on the plans administrative is working towards as a unit, and how it is moving in a positive direction for all.

“The interim president has really stressed the need for us to develop plans,” Lindaman said. “It has been very refreshing because a lot of us are doers and are creative and innovative.”

Lindaman also appreciated the plans administration is making towards focusing on the creativity and values of faculty members.

“On Tuesday, we had a meeting where they invited us to think, ‘If we have these five different university goals, what are your departmental goals that meet these values?’” Lindaman said. “In doing that, I’ve had fantastic conversations about the imagination and creativity of our faculty.”

It helps the faculty members that Janz’s vision and planning comes from a place of knowledge and passion for both the community and the university.

“I have a good understanding of the people and the institution,” Janz said. “I couldn’t imagine being a new president and not knowing the history or how things work.”

One thing that Janz finds amusing about his new role is the fact that everywhere he goes, people now recognize him.

“It’s funny because now, I’ll get stopped by random people asking questions or small groups yelling out, ‘President Janz, can we take a picture with you?’” Janz said. “It’s almost like being a minor celebrity in a weird way; people know who I am now.”

Lindaman, though only being in this position for a month, noticed a common theme in her meetings with faculty.

“I think people really just want to be heard and affirmed,” Lindaman said. “I think if I can provide that, if I can affirm your value, I’ll be impactful.”

Janz wanted to provide advice to students who are thrown into new roles, whether it being at school or in the workforce.

“I think the biggest thing is learn the names of the people who can help you get things done,” Janz said. “I think the best thing you can do in a new role is build connections and relationships because they can float you a lot farther.”

Though both faculty members stepped far outside of their comfort zones, they’ve both already learned so much in such a brief period.

“For me, this position had reinforced the power of people and relationships,” Lindaman said. “And the value of the sense of a public good has in our shared purpose.”

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About the Contributor
Reanne Weil
Reanne Weil, News Editor

Reanne Weil is a News Reporter for The Winonan and started in Spring 2023. Weil is a fourth-year at Winona State University majoring in Journalism and double-minoring in Spanish and Creative Digital Media.

In addition to working for The Winonan, Weil is a member and captain of the Division II Women’s Soccer Team at WSU. She is also a member of the Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC).

Outside of school, Weil works remotely for her local newspaper. She loves spending her free time with her friends and family. She enjoys watching the television show Friends and Disney movies with her favorite snack, popcorn and M&M’s.

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