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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.’”

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Nolan Ryan
Nolan Ryan is a senior from northern Michigan, studying English and journalism. He is this year's Editor-in-Chief at the Collegian. He previously interned with the Detroit News and, this summer, the Tennessean. You can find him reading good poetry and trying desperately to be better at appreciating art. Email: nryan1@hillsdale.edu | Twitter: @NolanRyan76