Institute at Hanover
seeks new executive director
currently serving as the interim director
(April 2008) Rivers Institute at Hanover College
is going through a major transitional period, despite hosting several
successful fall programs, such as the Great River Paint Out or Jean-Michel
Cousteau recently speaking on campus.
The Rivers Institute has been without an executive director since January
2007, but that has not stopped the organization from pursuing its initiatives.
One of the major events currently organized by the institute is the
Hanover College Capstone. This extensive project includes several courses
relating to climate change offered to senior students at Hanover, as
well as exhibits and speakers such as conservationist Jane Goodall.
Dr. Rob Graham has been filling an interim executive director position
for the Rivers Institute ever since former Executive Director Dennis
Wichelns resigned from the position after less than two years. Wichelns
still works at the college.
I enjoy teaching, Wichelns said. I would very much
like to stay here.
Wichelns currently teaches, mentors students and researches while still
doing outreach programs in Indiana and other places.
During his time as executive director, Wichelns had to build the institute
from the ground up, including gathering a core staff that would support
the organizations mission.
We had a three-fold mission: enhance the scholarship, visibility
and sustainability of Rivers Institute, Wichelns said. He declined
to comment on why he left the organization.
The Rivers Institute is currently in the process of reviewing applications
for the executive director position. Applicants for the position will
be coming to campus within the next six weeks for interviews, Graham
We have some attractive applicants, he said.
As interim executive director, Graham has been making decisions on submitted
proposals and managing the grant from the Lilly Foundation that makes
the Rivers Institute possible.
However, Graham already fills many different positions at Hanover, including
Vice President, Dean of Academic Affairs and professor. His busy schedule
limits the time he can put into the Rivers Institute, Graham said.
I havent been able to build external relationships,
he said. We need an individual who can work at building those
relationships and serve the broader community. Id like to have
that person hired yesterday. That person is going to be a bridge between
Hanover College and external constituencies.
Despite the transitional period between executive directors, the Rivers
Institute has still organized and sponsored many events throughout the
What really excites me is that through the efforts of a lot of
people, we moved a lot of important initiatives forward, Graham
The Rivers Institute was established at Hanover College on Jan. 15,
2004. The initial funding for the program came from an $11.4 million,
five-year grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc.
The mission of the Rivers Institute is to enhance understanding
of the culture, economics, and science of river systems around the world,
according to the organizations website.
For more information about the Rivers Institute,
or call (812) 866-6846.
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