Skip to Main content

Dean leaving legacy of 'more serious' academics

Dec 18, 2020

The end of the Fall 2020 semester marks many things, but one of the most notable will be the retirement of Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty Alan Woolfolk. He made his final mark on campus as the 2020 Commencement Speaker during the Dec. 12 commencement exercises, providing advice and humor in his own unique style.

The Flagler Family has sent his way endless praise and recognition since he announced in October his plan to retire. 

Watch the entirety of the faculty farewell video here.

"We are a more serious academic institution now than we were 13 years ago," he said. "If I've left any legacy I hope that's it." 

He arrived at Flagler in January of 2008 and in the last 12 years, has transformed the academic rigor of the college. Woolfolk quickly became a champion of the faculty, expanding their numbers and their expertise. With expanded faculty breadth came an increase in programs including natural science, computer information science and anthropology. He proved to be an encouraging force, leading to the development of both a top notch first-year program and an architect of shared governance. Now known as the Center for Advising & Core Experience, it's hard to imagine the first-year experience of our students without the overarching and holistic influence the center provides not just to those students in their first year, but beyond to include the entirety of their college experience.  

Associate Professor of Political Science and Dean of Academic Life Art Vanden Houten had already begun the arduous process of creating the framework of shared governance for the first time at Flagler in 2008. Already commonplace at most institutions, Woolfolk immediately set to work supporting Vanden Houten's efforts to establish a foothold of shared governance culture. A testament to their combined efforts, the faculty's governing body, the Faculty Senate, serves as a commanding presence on campus and its chair has a seat on the President's cabinet. Vanden Houten will assume Woolfolk's position as interim while the college conducts a national search. Previous Faculty Senate Chair Craig Woelfel will move into Vanden Houten’s position in an interim capacity as well. 

Academics is at the core of everything Woolfolk does. Most recently he assisted with the creation of the college's new 5-year strategic plan, lending his stamp on it by ensuring academics is at the forefront. Highlighting especially the sciences, Woolfolk stresses that the plan articulates the need for a focus on the sciences in order for Flagler to move forward.   

"Priority number one for me has been and is the development of a biology thrive as an institution,"he said in an interview for WFCF's radio show and podcast Flagler Footnotes. "We must build a science building, pure and simple. If that can take place then I consider that plan a success. 

Listen to the entirety of the interview here. 

His advice to the next person to take on the role: "Don't take yourself too seriously. 

Tagged As