Viktor Nemykin, a professor and the department head of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada, met with students as a candidate for the dean of the College of Environment, Forestry, and Natural Sciences (CEFNS). Although he is originally from Ukraine, he has lived in various places around the world, including Japan and Canada.
Nemykin has a Ukrainian equivalent Ph.D. from the Institute of General and Inorganic Chemistry at the Bulgarian Аcademy of Sciences.
During his open forum, Nemykin said having this international experience would give him a great advantage as dean of CEFNS because he has been fortunate enough to experience several different cultures, such as those in Japan and Ukraine.
Graduate biology student Kyoko Okano was in attendance and raised questions about Nemykin’s goals if he became dean of CEFNS. Okano asked about inclusion and how Nemykin plans to ensure that all students have the resources they need to be successful.
“It is a balancing act," Nemykin said. "In order to engage those students, you need to create here more opportunities for them to feel at home.”
Nemykin said there are a variety of ways to make international students feel more at home. For example, the university should hire more diverse faculty and create multicultural learning centers.
Nemykin reflected on Canada’s multicultural environment and he talked about different ways that Canadians celebrate various cultures.
“If we create an open atmosphere where students feel at home, it would be a plus,” Nemykin said.
Additionally, Nemykin talked about the advantage of NAU’s science programs being located in northern Arizona. He said geography plays a large role at NAU and where students are located is a huge advantage.
“[Students] have a very unique niche here,” Nemykin said. “It is very special here that you can go walk outside and be in the laboratory.”
The prospective dean emphasized students are important for both his position and the university. Nemykin said everything at NAU is about students, not professors or faculty.
The third candidate for the dean of CEFNS will be on campus Thursday and Friday, and the search will conclude Feb. 11 and Feb. 12 when the fourth finalist hosts forums.