H-SC to Welcome a New Dean of Facultyby: Joshua Shelton ‘12 Staff Writer
At the end of the 2011-12 academic year, Hampden-Sydney will welcome a new Dean of the Faculty, Dr. Dennis Stevens of Randolph College. The search was a long and tenuous process according to Dr. Utzinger, the Associate Dean of the Faculty: “the process included a search committee appointed by the president with four faculty members, three were elected and one that is appointed.”
The Dean of the Faculty is an official of the college that is crucial to the operation of the college in maintaining the academic standards and setting forth the future faculty agenda. While the position is important it is not a position widely known or understood among students. Dean Utzinger said that the role is “the highest ranking official after the president and is of extreme importance. The Dean will also have a mediating role between faculty and administration to communicate a new strategic plan.”
With the new incoming Dean of the Faculty Dean Herdegen will be returning to his position as a faculty member in the Department of Psychology. In an interview with Dean Herdegen he revealed how he has come to see his tenure in the position in collaboration with others as an accomplishment. Herdegen has said that his responsibilities are broad and that he is tasked with the job of “overseeing the entire faculty in addition to the staff in the other departments under the Dean of the Faculty.” The task is not a simple managerial position with an overview role that is hands off, but rather one that sees him working with numerous committees that seek to employ new faculty members along with guiding the process of a new curriculum reviews that the school holds every couple of years.
The curriculum review is crucial to the continuing process undertaken by the administration to maintain the rigorous academic standards that have always been a part of the Hampden-Sydney College experience. In noting the accomplishments that have been realized in the past years, Dean Herdegen stated that one thing he has been proud of was the ability to have brought “12 new tenure track faculty,” which includes hires for next year, four in the department of biology. These professors have, according to Herdegen, added the ability for this school to better achieve its mission in allowing students greater opportunities to advanced teaching on par with similar schools.
Another opportunity achieved by the college through Dean Herdegen and other’s work was the Arthur Vining Davis Foundation’s $250,000 award to make significant improvements to the classrooms. This too will allow the college to improve its academic environment and better equip both teachers and students to facilitate an environment for the continued success of the academic life at the College.
In conclusion Dean Herdegen stated, “this has been one of the highlights of my professional life, I have loved representing the College, I love this place, and I look forward to contributing to the college.” Namely, in his role that first brought him to the college, teaching.
By looking at the accomplishments that Dean Herdegen has brought to the College, one can easily conclude that the students have been greatly served by his tenure as the Dean of the Faculty and look forward to the future contributions of his successor Dr. Stevens.