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Steven Oberhelman Begins Interim Deanship

Steven Oberhelman has served Texas A&M University for 34 years. Now he’s ready to assume the position of interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts.

Tiarra Drisker ‘25

Steven Oberhelman will assume the duties of interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Texas A&M University on August 16, 2021. He will oversee the College of Liberal Arts until the official dean search is complete. 

Oberhelman said he sees the appointment as a culmination of his 34 years of service at the university. A faculty member at Texas A&M since 1987, Oberhelman has a plethora ofexperience to prepare him for his new role. He has previously been the head or interim head of four different departments and most recently served the college as associate dean of undergraduate programs. He has worked under five deans in his time at Texas A&M, to whom he attributes his high standards of excellence.

Oberhelman said his past service in a variety of roles  allows him to “appreciate the difficult and complex jobs that faculty and staff carry out, and to understand the importance of educating our students and providing them a meaningful learning experience.”

A professor of classics, Oberhelman spends his free time maintaining a steady publication record and writing books, articles, and dictionary entries in his field of Greek culture from antiquity to the present day.

“My second-most enjoyable activity after teaching a room filled with students? Spending hours upon hours in musty archives and libraries. Of course, it helps that most of those archives and libraries are located in Greece,” Oberhelman said.

As far as his goals during interim deanship, Oberhelman said he wants to continue the college’s current focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion by ensuring a welcome and safe place to work, study, and learn. Another  goal is to strive for a student population that accurately represents Texas’ demographics.

“We must continue to place a heavy emphasis on the recruitment and retention of underrepresented students,” Oberhelman explained. “The college has set a goal of recruiting a student population that is reflective of the state’s demographics. That goal is perhaps unrealistic; but it should be our goal, and we should expend every effort to reach it.”

Oberhelman is aware of the adversity the college has faced during the pandemic, but he says he is ready to lead the college as it prepares for the new dean who will likely begin their service in the fall of 2022.

“The coming months will be an opportunity to bring the college out from a pandemic year when instruction has been mostly online and faculty, staff, and students have coped with challenges and difficulties,” Oberhelman shared. “The task will be daunting, but I am fortunate to be surrounded by the best associate deans, department heads, faculty, and staff that one would ever want to have.”