College of Education and Behavioral Sciences News
Dr. Dennis George, CEBS Associate Dean, to retire from WKU after 31 years
- Thursday, May 11th, 2023
Dr. Dennis George is a familiar, smiling face to many on the Hill. He’s held various positions over his 31-year career, from Instructor to Dean. Hilltoppers have taken his classes, shaken his hand at commencement, gone to him as a mentor, or just had a friendly conversation with him. In the later part of his career in higher education administration, he’s worked closely with curriculum and accreditation, so his career will leave a lasting legacy at WKU. His past and current colleagues say he’s kind, humble, a model citizen, super friendly, genuine, warm, and a real gem. One person summed it up, with “Dennis has done everything; if you need to know how to do something, Dennis always has the answer!"
Dr. George started as an Instructor in the Department of Engineering Technology at WKU in 1992. Over the next decade, he rose through the ranks to become a Professor within the Department of Public Health. In 2005, he left the classroom full-time and became the Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs, where he began the work of curriculum and academic program development, along with tasks related to strategic planning and campus assessment.
In 2010, Dr. George became the Dean of University College, overseeing the faculty, staff, and students of majors like Diversity and Community Studies, Interdisciplinary Studies, Organizational Leadership, and Systems Management. One of his former UC colleagues said, “Dr. George has always been willing to talk, have a quick conversation and catch up. I always found him to be smiling and in good cheer - and I loved running into him in Tate Page. I appreciated his outlook, willingness to listen to help, and he even let me interview him for one of my classes.” Dr. George remained Dean of University College until it was dissolved in 2018. Immediately after, he served as Interim Dean of the College of Health and Human Services for a year.
Dr. George started in his current role as the Associate Dean of the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences in 2019. While the traditional roles of an associate dean, like working with curriculum, representing CEBS on committees, and handling student issues are part of his job, he was able to take on new projects. He says, “it became obvious that we were going to need someone to work with the new anthology portfolio platform and spend the time that it took to get it implemented. Dean Corinne Murphy gave me the freedom to be flexible and move over this other area. And more recently, I’ve had an opportunity to work on starting teacher apprentices’ programs.” The Teacher Apprentice partnership with Nelson County School is the first program of its kind in the state of Kentucky.
Dr. George recently reflected on his time at WKU, including his favorite parts of his career and what he’ll miss in retirement. “My favorite part has been my last four years here working for the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences. I absolutely love it here. I'll definitely miss the people. There are some wonderful folks all across this campus, and I've had a great privilege of working with so many, many wonderful people. I will certainly miss just being around students. I'll miss interacting with potential students during recruiting activities. And I'll just honestly, I'll miss the work. I love what I'm doing. I will miss Corinne Murphy. She is without a doubt the best boss I ever had in all my years. She’s just a great person to work for.”
One of the biggest changes Dr. George says he’s witnessed in the past three decades is the Resource Allocation, Management and Planning (RAMP) budget model. “I think it's a fabulous way to do business in higher education, and it really does change the conversation when the Deans are empowered to make budgetary decisions and to invest in areas that will drive the economic model a little more efficiently.”
WKU is special, not only to Dr. George, but his whole family. His wife retired from WKU in 2021 after 20 years and both of his children are Hilltopper alumni. “My children literally grew up on this campus. I remember even when they were in elementary school, on snow days, they would sit in the classroom where I was lecturing and draw and color. They were raised on this campus. When it came time for them to choose where they wanted to go to college, I wasn’t sure if they’d want to go to WKU or not. But they both wanted to come here, which delighted my wife and me. They had outstanding experiences here. We're definitely a WKU family!”
If you know or work with Dr. George, you know he’s always busy, so what he is planning to do in retirement? “I am not looking forward to not working because we're on the verge of doing some really, really, really cool things in a lot of areas in CEBS, so I'm not at all looking forward to walking away from that. But, I'm looking forward to just having some more flexibility with my time. I'm looking forward to finding a ministry that I can get involved in. I hope that I find something that I can devote my time to that would be a blessing to people.”
CEBS will be celebrating Dr. George and his amazing career and accomplishments on Friday, May 12 at 2:00pm in the Student Success Center in Gary Ransdell Hall. Remarks will be held at 3:00pm.
CONTACT THE COLLEGE OF EDUCATION AND BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES
Office of the Dean
College of Education and Behavioral Sciences
1906 College Heights Blvd. #11030,
Bowling Green, KY 42101-1030
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