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New Dean of faculty, Daniel Cou­pland. Nolan Ryan | Col­legian

This summer, two pro­fessors took new dean posi­tions.

As of July, Daniel Cou­pland, chair of the edu­cation department, is now serving as dean of faculty, suc­ceeding chair of the English department Stephen Smith. In addition, Smith replaced pro­fessor of religion and phi­losophy Tom Burke as dean of human­ities. Both Cou­pland and Smith have taught at Hillsdale for over 10 years.

The dean of faculty’s respon­si­bil­ities include running the monthly faculty meetings, over­seeing various com­mittees on edu­cation, and helping in the con­sid­er­ation of new pro­fessors. Cou­pland said the position typ­i­cally lasts two years.

The respon­si­bil­ities for the dean of human­ities is com­prised of over­seeing the human­ities depart­ments at the college. The dean is respon­sible for helping the pro­fessors and chairs within the human­ities to thrive.

“Both deans were rec­om­mended by faculty for their respective posi­tions,” Provost David Whalen said in an email. “Moreover, both Pres­ident [Larry] Arnn and I knew them to be col­leagues of impec­cable integrity, goodwill, and keen imag­i­nation. They are a joy to work alongside. And, like so many col­leagues, what they seek is the good of the college — its stu­dents, faculty, and staff — not their own status. They will bring their good minds and char­acter to their posi­tions and help the college accom­plish marvels in an envi­ronment increas­ingly troubled.”

Cou­pland began teaching at Hillsdale College in the fall semester of 2006, after teaching at Saginaw Valley State Uni­versity. As a pro­fessor of edu­cation, he has most recently been serving as the chair of the edu­cation department.

“The provost of the college explained the position to me and then he invited me to con­sider taking it,” Cou­pland said. “Of course I was flat­tered by the offer, but I decided to pause, think it through, and talk to my lovely wife before deciding.”

After accepting the position, Cou­pland began con­sulting pre­vious pro­fessors who had held his role.

“The pre­vious dean of faculty was Dr. Stephen Smith, who is now the dean of human­ities,” Cou­pland said. “He was a person that I spent a lot of time talking with to get a sense of what the position is and the ebb and flow of the time com­mitment.”

The other role filled during the summer was the dean of human­ities. In 2001, Smith started his career of teaching at Hillsdale. The past two years, he served as the dean of faculty and the chair of the English department, and he con­tinues to serve as the English chair.

“I thought it was a great oppor­tunity to work with my col­leagues across the human­ities, to mentor new faculty, and espe­cially to help the department chairs in whatever way I can,” Smith said.

Because of the nature of the position, there is a limit on the classes a dean teaches, according to Smith. The current dean arrangement requires that he teach one class. “One unex­pected thing has been that my love of Shake­speare, Milton, and Dante has somehow inten­sified now that I’ve been reduced to one class,” he said. “I intend to teach those classes at the highest level and with as much joy as pos­sible.”

Although Smith is limited to one class now, he said he was excited about the prospects of serving as dean of human­ities.

“Hon­estly, there was a dif­ficult choice because of my love of teaching,” he said. “I miss espe­cially knowing a large number of stu­dents and sharing the love of lit­er­ature with them. That said, I am happy and excited to serve in this new way. I see it as another way of helping stu­dents and another way of getting to know my great col­leagues better.” He added jok­ingly, “The ‘H’ in Hillsdale stands for ‘human­ities.’”