UNCW names new dean of education

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Dr. Van O. Dempsey III. Photo courtesy UNCW.
Dr. Van O. Dempsey III. Photo courtesy UNCW.

UNC-Wilmington officials have announced their pick to lead the university’s Watson College of Education.

Following a closed session meeting last week, the UNCW Board of Trustees named Dr. Van O. Dempsey III to the administrative post.

It’s one of several left vacant over the last year. Trustees still need to fill the position of dean of the Cameron School of Business, a decision they are expected to make in the coming weeks, according to a news release from UNCW.

UNCW leaders are also seeking permanent replacements for Chief of Staff and Provost. The former was occupied by Max Allen, who announced in March that he would leave UNCW effective June 1 for a job in the same position at Clemson University in South Carolina.

And Denise Battles, Provost and Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs, is leaving campus at the end of this semester to the next president of the State University of New York Geneseo.

Dempsey, who is currently Vice President for Institutional Assessment and Effectiveness at Fairmont State University (FSU) in Fairmont, West Virginia, will begin work at UNCW on July 1.

“We are very much looking forward to having Dr. Dempsey join our community as the Dean of the Watson College of Education,” said Martin Posey, search committee chair and associate vice chancellor and dean of undergraduate studies. “Van’s extensive experience in the field as a faculty member and as an administrator stood out to the committee during the search process. His background, skills and leadership expertise will significantly contribute to the college, and the university’s, continued success.”

Trustees selected Dempsey after a nationwide search to fill the position left vacant by Ken Teitelbaum, who served as Watson’s dean for four years. Teitelbaum will continue on as a professor in the Department of Instructional Technology, Foundations and Secondary Education.

“The Watson College of Education is positioned to serve as a critical partner in deconstructing problems of practice, creating and supporting best practices, and creating opportunities that can have a direct impact on the quality of people’s lives,” Dempsey said. “I am eager to join an institution as esteemed as UNCW and to begin working with the students, faculty and staff of Watson College and across campus, and with others in the community.”

In his current role at FSU, Dempsey oversees the assessment of learning and academic programs and the evaluation of strategic initiatives and organizational effectiveness. Dempsey previously served as the Dean of the School of Education, Health and Human Performance at FSU.

According to a release from UNCW, Dempsey’s accomplishments include leading the state in the implementation of new standards for teaching practices, securing more than $1.25 million in external funding and collaborating with 40 professional development schools and six school districts.

Prior to FSU, Dempsey was a faculty member at West Virginia University and also served as the Director of the Benedum Collaborative, nationally recognized for its teacher education program and school-university partnerships.