Dr. Rich Mayes, dean of faculty and long-serving science professor, will retire at the end of this academic year after 35 years at Greensboro College. Mayes first came to the east coast to fill an opening at Virginia Tech and, after spending several years in the Midwest, he decided to return to the eastern states he fell in love with during his professorship in Virginia. At the time, Greensboro College was the only school in the area hiring a science professor, so he applied, got the job and has held various positions at the college ever since.
Mayes began as an assistant professor of biology in 1985 and quickly moved up the ranks from there. He was tenured in 1988 and became a full professor the following year. He then became the Jefferson Pilot Professor of Biology, his division chairperson, the department chairperson of biology and associate dean of faculty. Six years ago, the president of the college asked Mayes to become dean of faculty and he accepted.
Mayes has also been the chairperson of the committee to hire every science and mathematics professor currently at Greensboro College.
In his position as dean of faculty, Mayes has a myriad of responsibilities, but according to him, he has always seen his main duty as advocating for the faculty, which means serving as a liaison between faculty and the college’s higher administration. His other duties include organizing class schedules and budgets, planning showcase day, running faculty meetings, resolving student grievances, hiring adjunct professors and determining adjunct professors’ pay.
Mayes says the next dean of faculty must “have a lot of experience in the classroom,” “some administrative experience” and “must be respected by the faculty.” Because of this unique position as both leader and liaison, Mayes says that the person who fills his position must “realize they are not a dictator” and have “unquestioned honesty and integrity.”
The college has not yet announced who will be the next dean of faculty, but Mayes assures that higher administration is working diligently to find the right person. Although he cannot say with certainty, he suspects it will be an internal promotion.
Dr. Rich Mayes, dean of faculty and long-serving science professor, will retire at the end of this academic year after 35 years at Greensboro College.
Mayes greatly enjoys his position as dean of faculty, but he says that his career has been “highly student centered,” and teaching is his true passion. Interacting with students has always been his favorite part of the job, which is why he still teaches biology classes every year.
Although he says working with students has kept him young, Mayes decided, at age 71, it was time to retire. When asked about his retirement plans, Mayes said he will travel to Wrigley Field to see his beloved Cubs play, grow his dye-cast car collection and possibly return to Greensboro College as an adjunct professor some semesters.
“Oh,” he added, “and relax.”
To the faculty he serves, Mayes is the honest, respected leader that he says a dean should be. To Mayes, the faculty has become a second family.
Despite his many personal achievements, the proudest Mayes has ever been in his career was when he saw his daughter, Amanda Mayes, who is one of Greensboro College’s registrars, teach her own classes.
Dr. Rich Mayes and Amanda Mayes will deliver Greensboro College’s next ProfTalk, which is a TEDTalk-style event, on November 19.
By Timothy Crowell