This archived article was written by: Keenan Ryan
The responsibilities as the dean of professional and applied technology have been passed from Donna Cartwright to Michelle Fleck. As of spring semester 2004, Dr. Michelle Fleck will be the new dean.
As the dean of Professional and Applied Technology, Fleck is responsible for all the classes in the division. She will handle all the scheduling and keep track of all the budgets. Fleck is currently teaching six credits compared to the 15 she usually teaches.
“I am very pleased to have the opportunity to work with the faculty and staff of the PATE division. I have an enormous respect for Donna and the job she has done as dean for the past eight years. In fact, for those of you who’ve been here long enough to remember the old ‘Science and Technology Division,’ Donna was my supervisor in that division for a while.
For the past month, Donna has been spending as much time as possible trying to train me for the job, although I think it will take a long time to be able to even come close to the levels of her knowledge and skills as dean,” Fleck said.
Fleck grew up on a dairy farm in east Tennessee, about 30 miles southeast of Knoxville, in a little town about the size of Elmo. Her father owned and operated the farm while her mother taught English and French in high school.
She graduated from Tennessee Tech in 1979, with a bachelor’s degree in geology. “For some reason I was fascinated with the mining business, and attended graduate school at the University of Missouri’s School of Mines in Rolla, receiving a master’s degree in geology and geophysics in 1981. My master’s thesis research was on the iron ores from Birmingham, Alabama area, trying to figure out why they caused slag problems in the blast furnaces there.
After I graduated, I worked for three years for a branch of a federal agency, the Tennessee Valley Authority, in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, as a mineralogist for their fertilizer development center,” Fleck explained.
In 1984, she married Kenneth Fleck, who is the mine geologist at the Deer Creek Mine in Emery County. “When I moved to Price I was unemployed and totally bored, so I took a computer class at CEU. Norm Larsen, who was my instructor, hired me to help set up the chemistry labs. I also grew bacteria cultures and washed glassware for LaVell King in the life science department, and taught developmental math and chemistry,” she said.
When CEU’s geologist, Don Burge, went on sabbatical leave in about 1986, Fleck taught his classes, and was hired full-time in 1987. Since then she has mostly taught geology and geography, but also some math and chemistry.
In 1997 she went back to school at the University of Wyoming to work on a Ph.D. in adult education, and graduated in 2001. Her dissertation is Factors Affecting the Motivation and Commitment Levels of Volunteers in Paleontology Museums. “A real page-tuner … let me know if you’d like an autographed copy,” Fleck laughed.
She has two children: Carrie, who’s a ninth grader at Mont Harmon, and Collin, a fifth grader at Creekview Elementary.
She has received a number of awards while teaching. They include ASCEU’s Students’ Choice Award in 1988, 1997 and 2001. She received the Outstanding Faculty Member in the Science and Technology Division in 1997 and Outstanding Dissertation in Social Sciences while completing her doctorate at the University of Wyoming in 2001.
“Someone asked me about my ‘management style,’ and I can honestly say that I don’t have one. I’ve never supervised anyone before, except for a couple of work-study students at CEU.
In my view, the dean’s job is to be a facilitator for the PATE division, and I will do my best to make things work as smoothly as possible,” she said.