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The Carletonian

Associate Dean Beverly Nagel chosen as new Dean of the College

<e’s a new dean in town, and her name is Beverly Nagel.

Currently serving as one of three Associate Deans, Nagel will officially become Carleton’s Dean of the College on July 1st of this year. Her appointment comes about as a result of the approaching departure of current Dean, Scott Bierman. He will leave Carleton this summer for a position as President of Beloit College, thus passing on to Nagel the proverbial baton of dean-hood.

Nagel was recommended to be the one to take up this baton by the Dean of the College Advisory Group, a milieu of faculty and staff that includes, among others, the chairs of the Faculty Affairs Committee (FAC), Education and Curriculum Committee (ECC), and both current and recent faculty presidents.

President Rob Oden gives a myriad of reasons for why he believes Nagel to be the right person for the job. “Bev is trusted and respected by the on-campus community and beyond, and this trust and respect will serve her very well in the years ahead,” said Oden. He also praises her careful decision-making and her ability to communicate both tactfully and effectively. Speaking on a personal level, he added, “I was delighted to receive the recommendation of the Dean of the College Advisory Group and I look forward greatly to working closely with Professor Nagel.”

Though she has served in an administrative post since becoming an Associate Dean in the fall of 2005, Nagel will encounter a number of new roles and duties as Dean of the College. “Being Dean will involve a broader set of responsibilities,” she says. Some of these will include playing a more involved role in faculty matters such as hiring, tenure and promotion decisions, as well as having a larger hand in what she calls the “strategic planning and leadership of the college.”

As Nagel prepares to take up these new responsibilities, she describes herself as being “optimistic,” though she admits that the road ahead will be somewhat less than smooth. “It’s going to be challenging,” she said. “These are very challenging times.”

Oden has confidence in Nagel’s ability to help lead the College through these challenges, and specifically in her ability to steer it though the ever-mounting tempest of the economic crisis. “What is especially timely about her appointment,” he observed, “is that she has been deeply engaged in all of our budgetary deliberations, hence understands the challenges before the College just now.”

Nagel, too, has faith in her ability to help guide the College through tough times but emphasizes that it won’t be due just to her efforts, but to those of the College as a whole. “Carleton is an extremely strong institution, and that is due above all else to its people,” she said. “Already, as we have moved to address the economic crisis, our faculty, students and staff have demonstrated their commitment to the College and its core mission.”

She does admit that the College will have to make some changes in the coming months and years, but stresses that what is most important, both to her and to the Dean’s office as a whole, is that Carls are provided with a quality education. “Although there will, of necessity, be some changes in the way we do business,” she said, “we are absolutely committed to providing the most excellent liberal arts education possible to our students.”

Nagel is a Carleton alum who, before being recruited by Scott Bierman to serve as Associate Dean, spent 25 years teaching in Carleton’s Sociology and Anthropology (SOAN) Department. During that time she also taught courses in American Studies, Latin American Studies and Environmental and Technology Studies.

Upon becoming a college administrator four years ago, her professorial duties largely ceased. However, she has continued to work with students on a limited basis, including assisting with independent projects and team-teaching various courses. “I think it’s really helpful to have that connection with the students,” she said regarding this continued work and its impact on her administrative performance.

She also feels that the research she did during her time in the SOAN department was instrumental in preparing her for her current responsibilities and will continue to aid her in her work as Dean of the College. She said that this research, which studied rural development in Paraguay, consisted of “consulting on community initiatives, helping to define a community vision and putting together resources.” These are many of the same types of tasks with which she is involved and will continue to be involved at Carleton.

Nagel said that these sorts of visionary efforts, “helping to develop the vision for where Carleton is going…building it and making it stronger,” are what she has enjoyed most about being a college administrator. She calls this aspect of the job a “great opportunity. ”

“I feel very privileged and excited to be a part of that,” she said, and added that she is “looking forward to even more of that” as Dean of the College.

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