By Daniel Johnson-Kim, Editor in Chief
After almost 40 years of work in higher education, Dr. Dwayne VanRheenen is leaving college.
VanRheenen, who served as the university’s Provost for 13 years, announced his plans to retire at the end of the fiscal year at a Faculty meeting Tuesday afternoon.
The announcement came as a surprise to some faculty members, but Van Rheenen, 64, said it was a decision he and his wife Joan carefully deliberated. Although he said he thoroughly enjoyed his tenure as ACU’s chief academic officer, he and his wife are eager to move to the West Coast, where their children and seven grandchildren live.
“I’m sure I’ll stay very busy,” VanRheenen said. “We’ll be living close to Seattle on a little island out in the Puget Sound.”
Dr. Royce Money, president of the university, wrote in an e-mail that he was working with the Faculty Senate to appoint a Search Committee to conduct a national search for VanRheenen’s replacement. Money wrote that the committee should be announced and functioning by early November.
“During Dwayne’s tenure as Provost, the university has enjoyed significant gains in the academic area,” Money said in the e-mail. “My estimate is that he has overseen the hiring of about two-thirds of our current faculty.”‘
Money added VanRheenen would still work as a consultant during the 2009-10 school year to help with the implementation of the new core curriculum and other “special projects.”
VanRheenen received his bachelor’s degree from Harding University and earned his master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Missouri.
VanRheenen said he worked in the Department of Communication at the University of Maine for 15 years; he was the Dean of Faculty for Seaver College at Pepperdine University for 11 years and has been ACU’s provost since 1996.
While at ACU, VanRheenen’s colleagues said he played a large role in increasing the size and quality of the ACU faculty and curriculum, although VanRheenen humbly said credit for the high caliber of ACU’s faculty belongs to several of his colleagues in various departments.
One specific benefit Dr. Tom Winter, Vice Provost, said VanRheenen brought to ACU’s hiring of faculty was the expansion of the areas from which ACU recruited faculty members. Winter, who worked with VanRheenen since he arrived at ACU, said his work
ethic would be missed in the Provost’s office on the second floor of the Administration Building.
“I’ll miss him when I’m up there late at night or early in the morning,” Winter said. “We pulled a few all-nighters working on projects from time to time.”