Dempsey Recognized for Contributions to Graduate Education

Thursday, March 07, 2013

A Fairmont State University dean has been named as the 2013 recipient of the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools (CSGS) Award for Outstanding Contributions to Graduate Education in the Southern Region.

Dr. Van Dempsey, Dean of the School of Education, Health and Human Performance at FSU, was presented with the award on Feb. 23 at the 42nd CSGS Annual Meeting in Greenville, S.C.

“We had many excellent candidates but Dr. Dempsey stood out for the quality of his contributions,” said Dr.  Amy Thompson McCandless, Dean of the Graduate School and Professor of History at the College of Charleston and Chair of the CSGS Awards Committee, in an e-mail to notify Dempsey of the award.

Dr. Jack Kirby, Associate Provost for Academic Affairs and Director of Graduate Studies at FSU, submitted Dempsey’s nomination.

“Dr. Dempsey has left his mark of excellence on graduate education at both Fairmont State University and West Virginia University and continues tirelessly to strive for even greater accomplishments,” Kirby said.

Dempsey came to FSU in 2006 after serving on the graduate faculty at West Virginia University for 15 years. He is currently Dean and Professor of Education for the School of Education, Health and Human Performance at Fairmont State. From 2009 to 2012 he concurrently served as Interim Dean of Graduate Studies. While Interim Dean, he continued to build the foundations established in earlier years for graduate programs at the University. Dempsey worked to ensure a separate graduate budget, to delineate scholarly expectations for graduate faculty and to expand the role of the Graduate Council.

“Even though Fairmont State University is relatively new to offering graduate programs, these programs at our institution have grown faster than any other of the West Virginia regional institutions that have been approved to offer graduate programs. This is due in large part to the guidance and leadership of Dr. Van Dempsey,” said Dr. Maria Rose, FSU President.

At West Virginia University, Dempsey directed the Benedum Collaborative and the Benedum Center for Educational Renewal, West Virginia’s flagship partnership program for integrating graduate education into teacher preparation. From 1991 through 2006, Dempsey was a graduate faculty member in the WVU College of Education and Human Services.

Dr. Jay Cole currently serves as Chief of Staff at West Virginia University. For seven years, he served as the Deputy Secretary of Education and the Arts and as the Governor’s education policy advisor in West Virginia.

“In these roles, I worked closely with Van on the implementation of a statewide ‘Partnerships for Teaching Quality’ (PTQ) initiative, inspired by the success of the Benedum Collaborative Model for Teacher Education at West Virginia University that Van led so ably for a decade. The hallmarks of the model–students earn a baccalaureate degree in a content area and a master’s degree in education and become part of an empowered community of practice that emphasizes shared governance, action research and constant renewal–are a good reflection of Van’s own deeply-held beliefs about the value of graduate education and professional development schools,” Cole wrote in a letter of support for Dempsey’s nomination.

Dr. Christina Lavorata, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at FSU, and Dr. Paul E. Chapman, Interim Associate Dean of the College of Education and Human Services at WVU, also submitted letters of support for Dempsey’s nomination.

“I am flattered to have been nominated for this award and honored to receive it. It was a professional pleasure to accept this award on behalf of our colleagues at Fairmont State who do excellent work to support our graduate programs. It was also an honor to represent former colleagues at WVU and the state of West Virginia,” Dempsey said.