Kim Winter, associate dean for academic affairs in the College of Education and Allied Professions at Western Carolina University, has just received a much shorter job title.
That’s because Winter, who has been in the role of associate dean since 2012, has been named the next dean of the college. The executive committee of the WCU Board of Trustees approved her appointment in a special conference call meeting Monday, April 24.
She will succeed Dale Carpenter, current dean, who is returning to a faculty position in the college July 1.
As associate dean, director of WCU’s teacher and professional education programs and professor in the School of Teaching and Learning, Winter has proven herself up to the task of leading the academic unit that is tied most closely to WCU’s founding as a teacher preparatory institution, Provost Alison Morrison-Shetlar said.
“This is an especially critical time for the College of Education and Allied Professions as we prepare to launch the Catamount School this fall and as we continue to work to help solve a growing teacher shortage facing our state,” Morrison-Shetlar said. “Dr. Winter’s familiarity with these issues, as well as her experiences in the allied fields of human services and psychology, will allow her to hit the ground running on day one in the dean’s office.”
A provost fellow for curriculum at WCU from 2013 until 2015, Winter currently manages the staff in Suite 201, the student support services unit for the College of Education and Allied Professions. Winter said her varied roles as a public school teacher, university faculty member, program coordinator, associate chair, intern, fellow, administrator and parent make her “uniquely suited” to serve as dean.
“I have learned so much in the nearly five years I have been here. It is my belief that you learn to become a leader and continue to learn in your role. It is not an easy task to quantify all that I have learned during this time, but know this – the learning never stops,” Winter said.
“Maybe it is the teacher in me as that is who I am at the very core of my being. Maybe it is my middle school teaching background that makes me such a firm believer in the power and strength of a good team. Whatever the reasons, a shared vision for our college and of our future is paramount. We will work together to surround ourselves with excellence – in our faculty, staff, students, programs, curriculum – in all that we do,” she said.
Winter said that part of her role as dean will be to ensure that the college continues to work on issues that extend beyond the classroom and its work in teacher and allied professions preparation – including national matters that also affect all students and American society in general.
“In my view, we must talk about the state of education in America. We need to engage in important, substantive and often uncomfortable conversations. We cannot effectively prepare teachers to serve racially diverse learners by talking generically about diversity and multiculturism, but never explicitly talk about race, racism and racist practices, structures and implicit biases,” she said.
“Given the ultimate goal of our college and university, and recent events on our campus, addressing these issues is central for all of us – not just those in teacher and professional education. It begins with education – in the most elementary sense,” she said.
Prior to joining the WCU faculty in 2012, Winter was a member of the curriculum and instruction faculty in the middle level education program at the University of Texas at Arlington. Her professional career in academia includes teaching positions at Texas Christian University and Georgia Southern University. She also has taught at elementary and middle school levels in Indiana and Texas.
Winter was selected to serve as dean following a national search led by a campus committee chaired by Doug Keskula, dean of WCU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.
One of six undergraduate colleges offering academic programs at WCU, the College of Education and Allied Professions prepares educators, counselors, psychologists, recreation personnel and human service specialists at both entry and advanced levels. The unit is home to the School of Teaching and Learning and the departments of human services and psychology.
Approximately 1,300 undergraduate students are majoring in academic programs offered by the college, with more than 600 additional students pursuing advanced degrees. The college has approximately 80 full-time faculty members.
As mandated by the N.C. General Assembly, WCU’s College of Education and Allied Professions and the Jackson County Public Schools system are collaborating on formation of the Catamount School, a new laboratory school designed to help students in grades six through eight successfully transition into high school through implementation of a “whole school, whole community, whole child” approach. It is scheduled to open this August.
More information about the College of Education and Allied Professions can be found at http://ceap.wcu.edu.