It’s been nearly six months since I joined the Ball State and Muncie communities as Dean of the College of Health. I have experienced a tremendously warm welcome from folks in the college, university and community. The photo here was taken by Jane Ellery, assistant professor of Wellness Management in the School of Kinesiology at an arts installation at MadJax, a community makerspace for people in science, technology, engineering, art, math and culture. As someone recently said, I put the I in Muncie.

This fall semester has seen a flurry of “return to normal” activities on campus. In September, we hosted a Dean’s List reception for our amazing students and their families. For Homecoming in October, Eric Klosterman, assistant lecturer of sport administration, organized the long-standing Chase Charlie 5K run/walk, which offers an immersive learning opportunity for undergraduates. It benefits the Sport Administration Fund for Excellence, which provides scholarship and professional development for high achieving sport administration students. The College hosted a tent as part of Alumni Row before the football game, and Social Work won the bed race.

I am grateful to the efforts of Lt. Col. James Babbitt, chair of military science, who organized a very successful ROTC alumni reunion. Did you know we currently have more than 100 ROTC cadets and that there have been nearly 400 officers commissioned since 1998? Also this semester, there were several inspirational guest lectures and panel discussions hosted by the Fisher Institute of Health and Well-Being, as well as the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies.

Frankly, things aren’t quite-yet truly normal. We continue to wear masks and monitor COVID symptoms and epidemiology. Few have not been touched by COVID personally with a family member or friend who was infected, and in some cases, died. As a College of Health, we protect ourselves and others and strive to be role models for public health practice. Our Interprofessional Community Clinics hosted a vaccine clinic that has served up more than 3600 vaccine shots in arms. Some of our students served as Cardinal Health Navigators assisting with contact tracing and being liaisons for peers who had to quarantine. COVID has provided opportunities for many of us to reflect on the importance of human connections. We look forward to the day when we can return to interacting in our traditional ways that includes not only serious study and skills training, but also leisure activities.

The College of Health is a vital health resource for Indiana. I am so grateful to be serving alongside our faculty and staff as we prepare future health professionals and researchers through our interprofessional education paradigm.

Scott Edward Rutledge
Dean, College of Health