Dean Hansen and professor Ericksen to retire
Amanda Summers – Copy editor, Chelsea Langevin – Senior reporter.
For more than 25 years, he has greeted Linfield students under the shade of the Oak Grove and foretold of their successes, misfortunes and future soulmates before the first day of classes. For more than 40 years, he has graced Linfield’s halls with a friendly smile and expansive wisdom.
And for three more months, he will remain dean of students.
A small committee of students and faculty are conducting a nationwide search for Dean of Students Dave Hansen’s replacement after his planned resignation this spring.
Hansen plans to remain at Linfield as a part-time academic professor, Senior Adviser to the President Frederic Ross said.
“Dean Hansen has been on campus longer than anyone except Professor Kenneth Ericksen,” said Ross, “He is a person who really knows a lot about Linfield.”
Hansen’s tenure and charisma make the position especially hard to fill, Ross said.
“We’re looking for nuts and bolts like education and intangibles someone who is really personable and knows how to work with people from all kinds of backgrounds,” Ross said.
After publishing the position two weeks ago on several nationwide academic publications and Web sites, the committee has received roughly 25 applicants, Ross said.
By March 1, the committee will begin screening applicants based on credentials such as their education, previous experience serving on a cabinet at a college or university as well as with working with students from diverse backgrounds, Ross said.
Once applications are reviewed, the committee will select two or three candidates to bring to campus some time in April to give students a chance to meet their prospective new dean.
Junior Colin Jones, a committee member, said this is an important decision for students to be a part of because of the dean’s wide-ranging jurisdiction over student activities.
“Everything that’s outside of the classroom falls under his or her umbrella,” he said.
While Jones said he is sad to see Hansen retire, he said he is excited to meet the applicants. As a student voice on the committee, Jones said he is looking for someone who is excited to work with students and who is engaging.
“It’s important for this person to get along well with students because [ASLC] Cabinet has a good amount of interaction with the dean,” he said.
Jones said he encourages students to take the time to meet the applicants in April.
“This isn’t a position with a high turnover rate,” he said. “When we start bringing people to campus, it is really important for students not on the committee to interact with them.”
As a part-time professor, Hansen will be accessible to the new dean as needed, Ross said.
“Dean Hansen’s tenure is absolutely amazing – what he has given to this college, and continues to give, is so impressive,” Jones said.
Hansen is not the only faculty member leaving Linfield.
Professor of English Ken Ericksen began teaching at Linfield during Fall Semester of 1965 and will be retiring at the end of this semester. Ericksen specializes in Shakespearean and British literature.
Teaching at Linfield has been his only full-time teaching position.
“Teaching at Linfield has a distinct advantage and a distinct disadvantage,” Ericksen said. “You’re not going to be able to become a well-known expert. Teaching a variety of things has been exciting, but you have to be willing to branch out.”
This is the case at most small schools, Ericksen said.
“You’re going to have to become more of a generalist and less of a specialist,” he said.
However, Ericksen has found the Linfield’s small size to be an advantage.
“You really get to know your fellow faculty members,” he said. “One of the real advantages here is that some of my best friends are in other departments.”
The search for a new professor began in the fall of 2009, and the search committee comprises senior Ansley Clark, sophomore Greg Larson, English professors and a political science professor.
The search has been narrowed down from 60 applications to three final candidates. One candidate, Daniel Pollack-Pelzner, visited Linfield on Feb. 16. The other two finalists will be on campus next week. While here, each candidate will have lunch in Dillin Hall for a discussion with students, teach a class, present a lecture and undergo a two-hour interview.
“It makes me see how difficult it is to become a professor,” Clark said.