Grover retires, Franklin named Dean, Trifilo moves to Director
December 17, 2014
PLAINVIEW – Effective in March, 2015, Wayland Baptist University will see faculty and staff transitions involving the School of Math and Sciences as well as the virtual campus that oversees Wayland’s online programs.
Dr. Herbert Grover will retire as Dean of the School of Math and Sciences at the end of the spring semester. Dr. Scott Franklin will move into the Dean’s position and Dr. Trish Trifilo will fill the Director of the Virtual Campus position vacated by Dr. Franklin.
A biology professor, Dr. Grover came to Wayland in 2008 and was named Dean of the School in 2009. Under his leadership the School has flourished. Grover has played a key role in developing the curriculum for majors in environmental science and environmental studies. He has also placed in emphasis on creation care, and raised awareness of the importance of caring for God’s world through conservation efforts throughout the Wayland system.
“Dr. Grover has certainly taken what was already an outstanding academic school and made it even stronger during his term a school dean,” said WBU Executive Vice President and Provost Dr. Bobby Hall. “He has grown the distinctiveness of the academic program with emphases on quality, undergraduate research, and field experience.”
Students in the math and science departments have benefitted through increased efforts in undergraduate research, as well as field research opportunities. The biology and geology departments regularly take study trips, providing more practical, hands-on educational experiences, and all fields of specialization conduct student research projects and present their findings at national conventions.
Grover earned his bachelor’s degree at Rider University in 1974 and a master’s from Rutgers in 1977. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of New Mexico in 1982 and came to Wayland after serving as Professor of Biology at Hardin-Simmons University since 1995. He has also served in various teaching and research capacities at the University of New Mexico.
Grover said the decision to step down as dean is the result of many factors, including the need to move the School into a more technologically driven environment, something he admitted may not be his strength. He also wants to spend more of his time with his personal academic pursuits.
“I look at the things that need to be done and how they need to be done to move the school to the next level and I see there are better people to accomplish that than me,” he said. “And I want to invest more of my energy in environmental science areas that interest me.”
Grover said he hesitates to say he is “retiring” as he hopes this is just another chapter in his academic life.
“Wayland has been the best place I have ever worked in my life,” he said. “I could not have asked for a better place to complete the classroom portion of my career. I will continue to be active and write and create things and teach online, but the mountains are calling and my grandkids are calling.”
With Grover’s departure, Dr. Franklin will move into the position of Dean of the School of Math and Sciences. Franklin, a 1998 graduate of Wayland, earned his Ph.D. in mathematics from Texas Tech University in 2005. He has taught mathematics at Wayland since 2000, and served as Associate Dean under Grover. In 2011, Franklin was named Director of the Virtual Campus.
“I look forward to continuing the high standards and quality leadership set forth by Dr. Grover,” Franklin said. “Our emphasis in the school has always been on engaging and close interaction between our faculty and our students, and we also closely integrate our faith in the classroom.”
As Franklin moves back to the science building, he will leave the virtual campus in capable hands. Dr. Trifilo has been with the VC full time since 2012, serving as the Distance Learning Specialist. Trifilo holds a doctorate in education from Capella University and a master’s degree in science from St. Louis University. She earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of Iowa. Trifilo came to Wayland after working as the director of online learning at Hardin-Simmons University.
Dr. Hall said the transitions to new positions should be seamless with no real disruption in services to students.
“Wayland is indeed fortunate to have the strength, quality and depth among its employees to make these transitions possible,” hall said. “Just as Dr. Grover brought unique strengths to his potion as dean, both Dr. Franklin and Dr. Trifilo are very well prepared to step into leadership rolls.”