The Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, S.J., announced on Sept. 21 that Gail Jensen, dean of the Graduate School and the College of Professional Studies, and Mark Latta, dean of the School of Dentistry, will be stepping down from their deanships next summer.
In an email, Hendrickson said that Jen- sen will have been dean for 15 years when she steps down on June 30, 2021, and Latta will have been dean for 10 years when he steps down on July 31, 2021.
“My goal was to take this school to an- other level from my predecessors, and I just think it’s the right time for someone with a new vision and new eyes to come in and build on — hopefully — what I’ve accomplished,” Latta said.
One of the things Latta said he was most proud of during his time as dean was the strategic planning for and implementation of Creighton’s new dental facility.
He added that he felt the timing was right to step down with the completion of the new dental building and an expansion in enrollment.
“It was an opportune time to step down and let somebody take the reins,” Latta said.
Jensen said that one of the things she is most proud of from her time as dean of the Graduate School and College of Professional Studies is creating opportunities for women in leadership positions.
“Finding ways and opening doors for women to develop as leaders is pretty im- portant to me,” Jensen said.
“And other women opened doors for me, too.”
Jensen also said that she enjoyed the in- terdisciplinary work she was able to do in her position.
Both Latta and Jensen said that they will miss their respective administrative teams after stepping down from their deanships.
“I’ve got a great group of assistant and associate deans and directors — my relationship with them will change, and I will miss that camaraderie of collaboration with them as a leader,” Latta said.
“What I love about leadership is you surround yourself with good people and let them do good work,” Jensen said. “Leader- ship is not about you, it’s about what needs to be done and how to facilitate the collaboration to get it done.”
Hendrickson said in his email that after stepping down as dean, Jensen will stay on as vice provost for Learning and Assessment and continue teaching. She plans to take a sabbatical at some point in the future.
Hendrickson also said that after stepping down, Latta will take a yearlong sabbatical, “during which time he plans to visit research centers nationwide to bring back the latest research techniques to the Creighton dental school,” before returning to teach and conduct research.
Latta said that he misses research and having more direct contact with students.
“My aspirations are certainly to come back after my sabbatical and contribute meaningfully to the school and to Creighton,” Latta said.
Hendrickson said that both deans will be awarded the title of Dean Emeritus.