Henderson named COE dean

Corryn Brock, News Editor

Laretta Henderson was named the new dean of the College of Education and will begin her new position July 1.

Henderson is currently an associate dean and associate professor of the School of Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee.

Henderson said she is looking forward to beginning her new position.

“I am so excited about this opportunity,” Henderson said. “It’s what I’ve been working for since I went to graduate school, so I’m looking forward to joining the EIU community and moving to Charleston.”

She said she was drawn to apply for the dean position because of her focus on education as a graduate student.

“It’s a regional institution that’s committed to education and to creating teachers. That was the focus of my graduate work, and even though I’ve been in information studies, all of my research has been geared towards teachers and teaching them about children’s literature and the literature they’re going to be teaching,” Henderson said.

In a press release from Eastern, Vice President of Academic Affairs Jay Gatrell expressed he is looking forward to Henderson coming to Eastern.

“We’re extremely excited to welcome Dr. Henderson to our EIU Family,” Gatrell said. “Eastern’s history as a normal school is rooted in our enduring commitment to preparing future educators. Laretta’s expertise, leadership and vision for the future are inspiring. Her enthusiasm for collaborative results will have a profound and robust impact on all of our college and community partners. And I want to offer my special thanks to those who served on the search committee for their hard work and dedication over the past several months in moving this appointment forward in a timely and efficient manner.”

Zachary Newell, dean of library services and chair of the College of Education search committee, said Henderson’s reputation was appealing to him during the search.

“We understood Dr. Henderson to be an icon in the field and she had strong service and scholarships; we thought she would be a strong faculty mentor and model,” Newell said.

Newell said he is glad Henderson accepted the position.

“I’m really pleased that she was offered the position and accepted,” Newell said. “I think we’re really looking forward to being able to partner with her and collaborate with her.”

He said Henderson’s commitment to social justice, diversity and inclusion will benefit the university and that she seemed to have a plan for the College of Education.

“She communicated very specific ideas and a vision of growth for COE with clear action items,” Newell said.

Henderson said she believes she can help further the College of Education as its dean.

“I think I can help them move forward, and I look forward to creating stronger partnerships with K-12 and in their commitment to rural education,” Henderson said.

Henderson will be taking over the position from Doug Bower, who will be retiring in the beginning of summer.

Henderson will be working closely with Bower to transition before she begins, according to the press release, a move commonly used in higher education to improve the transition between deans.

Corryn Brock can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].