UNCW selects new dean for Watson College of Education

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Van O. Dempsey III (Courtesy: UNCW)

WILMINGTON, NC (UNCW) — Van O. Dempsey III, Ph.D., has been named the next dean of the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s Watson College of Education, the University announced today. Currently the Vice President for Institutional Assessment and Effectiveness at Fairmont State University in Fairmont, WV. Dempsey will assume his new role on July 1.

“We are very much looking forward to having Dr. Dempsey join our community as the Dean of the Watson College of Education,” said Martin Posey, search committee chair and associate vice chancellor and dean of undergraduate studies. “Van’s extensive experience in the field as a faculty member and as an administrator stood out to the committee during the search process. His background, skills and leadership expertise will significantly contribute to the college, and the university’s, continued success.”

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Dempsey was named after an extensive nationwide search and will succeed Dean Ken Teitelbaum, who will be a professor in the Department of Instructional Technology, Foundations and Secondary Education, after serving as dean from 2011 to 2015.

“The Watson College of Education is positioned to serve as a critical partner in deconstructing problems of practice, creating and supporting best practices, and creating opportunities that can have a direct impact on the quality of people’s lives,” said Dempsey. “I am eager to join an institution as esteemed as UNCW and to begin working with the students, faculty and staff of Watson College and across campus, and with others in the community.”

In his current role at FSU, Dempsey oversees the assessment of learning and academic programs, and the evaluation of strategic initiatives and organizational effectiveness. Prior to this role, Dempsey served as the Dean of the School of Education, Health and Human Performance at FSU. His accomplishments include leading the state in the implementation of new standards for teaching practice; securing over $1,250,000 in external funding; and collaborating with forty professional development schools and six school districts.



Prior to FSU, Dempsey was a faculty member as West Virginia University and also served as the Director of the Benedum Collaborative, which was nationally recognized for its teacher education program and school-university partnerships.

Dempsey has served in several state and national leadership positions. He was a founding member of the Board of Directors of the National Association for Professional Development Schools; served on the Executive Committee of the National Network for Education Renewal and the WV Commission for Professional Teaching Standards, serving as chair for three years. He currently serves on the WV Board of Education’s Higher Education High Quality Educator Stakeholder Committee. Dempsey is the recipient of a National Academy of Sciences Board on Children, Families and Youth “Frontiers of Research on Children, Youth and Families” national award and has published numerous articles and chapters.

Dempsey holds a Ph.D. in Social and Cultural Foundations from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also received his Master of Arts in Teaching in Social Studies Education and his Bachelor of Arts in Education from UNC at Chapel Hill. Prior to working in higher education, Dempsey was a high school social studies teacher in Fayetteville and Pittsboro.

As Dean, Dempsey will provide leadership and vision for the Watson College of Education. He will be responsible for overseeing curriculum and program development, strategic planning, accreditation and assessment, faculty and staff matters, budget administration, academic facilities planning and use, and fundraising and resource development initiatives.

The university anticipates an announcement of the next Dean of the Cameron School of Business in the coming weeks.