Hillsdale Academy teacher pre­pares to share clas­sical edu­cation with kinder­garteners. Courtesy | Max Troyke 

A new full time pro­fessor of edu­cation will join the faculty as the college inau­gu­rates its clas­sical edu­cation masters program in the fall of 2022.

David Diener will step down from his current position as the head­master of Hillsdale Academy and become a full-time pro­fessor. Mike Roberts ’96, assistant head­master of the Academy, will succeed him.

Diener will join Dan Cou­pland, pro­fessor of edu­cation and chair of the edu­cation department, as they launch the master’s program in clas­sical education.

The clas­sical edu­cation graduate program will consist of a 36-credit-hour res­i­dential course of study. Grad­uates will receive a Master of Arts degree in clas­sical edu­cation. It will be available as a course of study in the fall term of 2022, according to Coupland.

“At the request of the provost’s office, I began pre­lim­inary work on the program about five years ago,” Cou­pland said in an email. “A couple of years later, Dr. Whalen invited Dr. Diener to help us think about the program and to refine it in later stages of development.”

Pro­fessor of English David Whalen was the provost at the time. The college chose Diener because of his sub­stantial resume in clas­sical edu­cation, Cou­pland said. 

“He has a strong aca­demic back­ground and extensive expe­rience in clas­sical schools,” Cou­pland said. “Beyond that, he is an engaging instructor who cares about his stu­dents and what he teaches.”

Diener said he has enjoyed his time at Hillsdale Academy.

“It’s been an honor and priv­ilege to be the head­master of Hillsdale Academy,” Diener said. “I wish Mike Roberts and all the teachers and fam­ilies the best moving forward as the work here continues.”

“Dr. Diener has really helped our staff and our school grow and develop in his four years and we’re better for his time here,” Roberts said. “He will be missed, but I look forward to working with him in a dif­ferent capacity. He’s going to do great things up the hill helping clas­sical edu­cation in a dif­ferent way.”

Diener said he is excited for what the new master’s program means for Hillsdale and clas­sical edu­cation as a whole.

“Hillsdale College is so rec­og­nized for, com­mitted to, and involved in clas­sical edu­cation that this masters program is a natural ful­fillment of our desire to make an impact on the work clas­sical edu­cators and admin­is­trators are doing,” Diener said. “Hillsdale College has the ability to set the gold standard for what a master’s program in clas­sical edu­cation can and should be.”

Cou­pland said the master’s program is an important step in the growth of clas­sical education.

“One of the biggest needs of the clas­sical edu­cation com­munity is lead­ership.  The growth of clas­sical schooling in America has been slowed by the limited supply of good leaders at every level,” Cou­pland said. “It is exciting for me to think that Hillsdale will play such a pivotal role in cul­ti­vating future leaders for the clas­sical edu­cation movement.”

Diener also said proper training for clas­sical edu­cators and admin­is­trators is critical for the success of the clas­sical model.

“As clas­sical edu­cation has exploded over the past decades, there is a need for col­leges to prepare stu­dents for careers in clas­sical edu­cation,” Diener said. 

Clas­sical edu­cation has been a reliable method of edu­cation for cen­turies, Diener said.

“Clas­sical edu­cation in the 21st century is recap­turing and attempting to renew an approach to edu­cation that has simply been standard throughout cen­turies,” Diener said. “It is not merely prepa­ration for a good college or a good job. The benefit, however, is that even though the goals of clas­sical edu­cation are not focused on those util­i­tarian ends, in fact, our schools are achieving those ends.”