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Voelker to Step Down as A&S Dean
President Walter Harrison sent the following message to faculty and staff on Thursday, Oct. 31.
I write to tell you that Dr. Joseph Voelker will be stepping down as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, effective January 15, 2014. You should know that Dean Voelker initially talked to the Provost last fall about ending his decade-long responsibilities as dean at the close of the 2012-13 academic year. Fortunately for all of us, she was able to appeal to his deep sense of loyalty to the University and he agreed to continue leading our largest and most diverse college through this fall semester in order to advance the important planning processes underway. He has been an outstanding leader, and I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge his many successes and to thank him for his accomplishments and service.
Dean Voelker joined the University of Hartford in 2003 after a distinguished academic career at Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania, where he served as a Professor of English and as Associate Dean of the Faculty. Through his leadership, he has drawn faculty and staff together to create a vision for the future among the departments represented in the College of Arts and Sciences. The College of Arts and Sciences is central to the University of Hartford, not only through its own majors, but in its support of other schools and colleges through the general education curriculum.
During Joe Voelker’s tenure as dean, he oversaw the hiring and professional advancement of 35 new, full-time faculty members in the College of Arts and Sciences. He led the faculty in revising their general education curriculum and instituted the First-Year Seminars program. Joe also understood the need to help orient first-time students from across the University to academic expectations and behaviors, leading him to develop the Preceptor system—a model for peer-to-peer engagement. He led the effort to bring the Graduate Institute of Professional Psychology (GIPP) back to East Hall on our main campus and to reintegrate it with the Department of Psychology’s undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral programs in psychology.
Joe understood the need for an external group to serve as ambassadors and advocates in the community, and he established the Arts and Sciences Advisory Board in 2004. Additionally he has served on the advisory boards for the Center for Complexity and the Presidents’ College. He administered the Cardin research funds in the humanities (a gift of Richard Cardin ‘62 in 2003) and worked to significantly increase faculty development support. Never leaving his roots as a professor, he taught Irish literature in the Presidents’ College on numerous occasions to rave reviews. I will always be personally grateful for the year Joe served as Interim Provost in 2007-2008. He became a good friend and trusted colleague, and I cherish that year we worked so closely together.
I am grateful for Joe’s tremendous dedication to the University of Hartford and I want to express our collective appreciation for his decade of service. His clarity of thought, forthrightness, and humor has made him an essential partner in our strategic planning exercise as well as Foundation of the Future. I have enormous respect for Joe and appreciate his thoughtful concern and advice for crafting a smooth transition in leadership for the College of Arts and Sciences, which will include an announcement of an Interim Dean in the next weeks.
After he takes a well-deserved leave, Joe will return as a tenured member of the English faculty. I look forward to his continued participation in the life of the University and in the academic community he did so much to build.