New Leadership

Rivers Institute at Hanover
seeks new executive director

Graham currently serving as the interim director

By Amy Casebier
Contributing Writer

(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 organization’s 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 said.
“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 haven’t been able to build external relationships,” he said. “We need an individual who can work at building those relationships and serve the broader community. I’d 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 past year.
“What really excites me is that through the efforts of a lot of people, we moved a lot of important initiatives forward,” Graham said.
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 organization’s website.

• For more information about the Rivers Institute, visit www.riversinstitute.org or call (812) 866-6846.

Back to April 2008 Articles.



Copyright 1999-2015, Kentuckiana Publishing, Inc.

Pick-Up Locations Subscribe Staff Advertise Contact Submit A Story Our Advertisers Columnists Archive Area Links Area Events Search our Site Home Monthly Articles Calendar of Events Kentucky Speedway Madison Chautauqua Madison Ribberfest Madison Regatta