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Halonen & Ranelli step down

By Alisa Festagallo

Two university leaders stepped down this summer. College of Business and College of Arts and Sciences filled those spots with interim deans Tim O’Keefe and Mike Huggins.



Ranelli was the dean of the College of Business for 13 years and was able to achieve AACSB accreditation reaffirmation. He brought in $3.5 million in donations and pledges as well as is still working on recruiting five faculty members to fill open positions.

Ranelli spoke to Provost Martha Saunders back in January about his long-standing plan of stepping down. He said the provost was unsure of his decision, and when asked why he decided to step down he had a simple answer.

“I want to go out on top,” Ranelli said.

Ranelli plans to continue fundraising and focusing on community relations for the college while eventually getting back to teaching.

Jane Halonen was College of Arts and Sciences dean for 10 years. During her term, with help from the college faculty and staff, she said and she was able to pull the college out of its different units and form it into a functional whole.

“We made great strides in contributing to the intellectual profile of the campus and many programs made the leap from good to great,” Halonen said in an email.

After a year of administrative leave she will go back to teaching general and honors introductory psychology, abnormal, and psychological assessment.



Halonen stepping down came as more of a surprise than Ranelli, and she didn’t explain her reasons for leaving the role but alluded to the upcoming restructuring of UWF’s colleges.

“The provost has indicated that she wants to reorganize the academic structure of the university,” Halonen said. “That means the College of Arts and Sciences is likely to be reconfigured into different, smaller units. My understanding is there could be a new set of UWF colleges by December.”

Halonen and Mike Huggins worked together for the past 10 years, and she said she was impressed to hear that he would be taking her place as interim dean.

Huggins and Halonen spent about a week discussing transitional issues to allow Huggins to move into the new position as smoothly as possible.



Huggins’ plans for the future consist of preparing the college for the new organizational structure by dealing with some structural leadership issues and getting prepared for the new movement.

“What we know right now is Bob Dugan, dean of University Libraries, is going to develop a set of recommendations that he will submit to the provost for re-organization of what the college structure will look like,” Huggins said.

There will be six town hall meetings in September that students, faculty and staff may to attend. Then, based on the feedback from the public, Dugan will mold his recommendations around those ideas and submit a proposal for restructuring to the provost.

“I know that students don’t often pay attention to organizational structure, but we are certainly encouraging students to participate as much as they can in the organizational restructuring process,” Huggins said.

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