Athens, Ga. – Louis Castenell Jr., who has been dean of the University of Georgia College of Education for eight years, announced today that he will leave that post Dec. 31 but will remain in the college as a faculty member.
Castenell said the college is in a strong position, and after 25 years as a dean at UGA and other universities he wants to devote the rest of his career to research, teaching and efforts to encourage youths from underserved populations to attend college.
“This is the best job I’ve ever had,” said Castenell, who came to UGA in August of 1999 from the University of Cincinnati, where he was also dean of the education college. “I am appreciative of the opportunity given me by the university, and I especially appreciate the generous support of faculty, staff and students in the college. Together we have launched this college into the 21st century.”
He said he will resume his research on adolescent achievement motivation and familiarize himself with current electronic teaching technology in preparation for returning to the classroom.
Castenell, who is the longest-serving of UGA’s 16 deans, also served from 2001-2002 as the founding interim associate provost for UGA’s Office of Institutional Diversity. He said he will continue working to increase diversity by taking on a special assignment to develop an outreach program to middle and high school students in underserved populations in Georgia.
“It has been a privilege to serve as the first African-American dean of a college at UGA and I look forward to lending my efforts across the state to improve diversity on campus,” he said.
With some 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students, 344 faculty and staff and more than 50 degree programs, the College of Education is the second-largest academic unit at UGA and the largest nationally ranked education college in the country. U.S. News and World Report ranks the college’s graduate program 26th among more than 180 programs nationwide and 17th among all public universities. Six departments rank in the top 10 in quality of graduate programs.
Castenell’s tenure as dean has been marked by significant increases in research funding and private giving, a reorganization of the college’s administrative structure, addition of new faculty and degree programs and increased public service activity.
“Under Dean Castenell’s leadership, the College of Education has made remarkable progress in strengthening its academic quality, enlarging its base of funding support and helping enhance education at all levels in Georgia,” said UGA President Michael F. Adams. “I appreciate his service and look forward to his continuing contributions to the college and the university.”
Arnett C. Mace Jr., senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, said, “I wish to express my appreciation to Dean Castenell for his leadership in advancing the College of Education and contributions to the University of Georgia. The college has made significant progress and I am grateful for his service. I look forward to working with him in his new role.”
The college’s annual research funding has more than doubled, from $8.3 million to $19.2 million, during Castenell’s tenure. The college also has received a number of large private gifts and grants that have helped create a faculty chair position, four endowed professorships and 10 student support funds.
Castenell implemented an administrative reorganization that reduced the faculty administrative staff by half and centralized the college’s business office. He created an academic cabinet composed of department heads and the college senate president to provide leadership in all facets of college operations. He also established a student advisory council to provide student input on college management decisions, and an advisory committee for teacher education programs.
He oversaw the development of three undergraduate and six graduate programs at UGA’s extended campus in Gwinnett County, and helped start a doctoral program in conjunction with Fort Valley State University to serve students in central Georgia. The education college also has supported dual degree programs with several of UGA’s other schools and colleges.
Castenell was a leader in a UGA collaboration with the Clarke County School District to create a community-wide program to encourage student achievement in local public schools. The program, which included an experimental extended school calendar and an intersession program, was recognized by the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education.
Castenell said one of his top priorities after leaving the dean’s post will be creating a program to be known as “UGA Bound,” in which he will work with principals, teachers and counselors in Georgia’s middle and high schools to help students qualify to attend UGA. He said the program, which will involve curriculum improvements and more attention to advanced placement courses, will be directed heavily to African Americans and students from other minority populations.
“One of my first jobs was as a recruiter for underserved populations,” he said. “Now that I have more knowledge and experience and influence, I want to complete that circle by returning to what has always been a powerful motivator for me-helping underprivileged youths attend college.”
Before becoming dean of the University of Cincinnati’s education school, Castenell was at Xavier University of Louisiana where he was dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, director of alumni affairs and director of university personnel and the work-study program. He also held a joint faculty appointment with Louisiana State University and Loyola University.
While serving as dean at UGA, Castenell chaired the board of directors of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) and was a board member of the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards, the National Board of Examiners and the American Council on Education.
He is on the national faculty of the AACTE New Dean’s Institute and is a board member of the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education and a member of the Georgia Council on Economic Education.
He received the Leadership Service Award from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards in 2006, and in 2002 received the Distinguished Alumnus in Higher Education Award from the University of Illinois, where he earned his doctoral degree.