Rowley to retire after 12 years

Undergraduate Education Chair Sharon Hartnett often sees William J. Rowley sweeping the patio outside of Peterson Hall. When Rowley became the dean of education six years ago, he cleaned and furnished the virtually unused patio, making it into a place his faculty could gather and eat lunch, Hartnett said.

Under Rowley’s leadership, the department has grown in diversity, programs, and in numbers, Assistant Dean Rick Eigenbrood said.

"He’s a very well-liked dean," Eigenbrood said. "He’s certainly the best person I’ve worked under."

Rowley, a former psychology and counseling professor and the dean of education for six years, will be retiring after 12 years at SPU. The School of Education (SOE) certifies teachers, principals, superintendents, and school counselors. It includes undergraduate, post-baccalaureate and graduate studies, such as the newly approved Ph.D. in Counselor Education, of which Rowley is particularly proud.

With all his duties as the dean of education, Rowley said it has become difficult for him to spend time with his wife of 42 years, Carol, who is already in retirement.

"She’s been so patient and supportive of my being here," Rowley said.

Many people retire because they dislike their job or because they have been offered a promotion, Rowley said. This is not the case with him.

"It’s time, because I really love my wife, and we are going to have time together. But I’m also going to miss these people," he said.

Rowley feels his co-workers are caring and collaborative people who enjoy working together.

When the previous dean of education went to another university in 2001, Rowley was appointed an interim dean while the university conducted a nationwide search, he said. The SOE faculty met with the administrating during the search and requested that he be given the job, Rowley said.

Under Rowley’s leadership, the department met all six standards and 32 elements on the well-respected National Council of Accreditation for Teacher Education (NCATE), which visits participating schools every five to seven years, he said.

Included in the process were a 100-page institutional report, the collection of near 1,000 documents, and interviews with everyone from deans to past and present students, Rowley said.

Nyaradzo Mvududu, assistant professor of education, said Rowley’s extra preparation and interpersonal skills greatly influenced the department’s NCATE success.

"He really orchestrated that we start early," she said, which allowed for more time to thoroughly prepare for the accreditation.

With the most recent certification, SPU became the first and only school of education in Washington to meet all standards and elements, Rowley said. The school has a high standing in the community, he said.

Rowley brought to prominence the SOE’s diversity committee and has made classroom diversity of both students and teachers a central goal of the department, said Eigenbrood. The SOE rooms in Peterson Hall are filled with pictures of SPU students in a variety of settings that display diversity in the classroom, he said.

Rowley also started a scholarship with Washington Mutual to encourage students from diverse backgrounds to do graduate work in education at SPU, Eigenbrood said.

Mvududu is pleased with the steps that the SOE is taking to promote diversity, and she appreciates the message sent by Rowley’s actions. "He doesn’t just pay lip service to things. He will actually act on it and do what he can," Mvududu said.

Open communication amongst staff and a strong vision for the department are two hallmarks of what Rowley has brought as dean of education, said Sharon Hartnett, the undergraduate teacher education chair. He’s created a team that both respects each other and works well together, Hartnett said.

During SPU’s faculty retreat each year at Camp Casey, people seem surprised to see the SOE faculty always sitting and eating lunch together, Eigenbrood said.

"This is a very cool place to work. People like each other. People get along well," he said.

Rene Shafar, administrative assistant to the dean, attributed much of the positive community to Rowley, who hired 15 of the 23 current SOE faculty members. Shafar has a great amount of respect for every person working in the SOE, she said.

Rowley has selected individuals that not only get along well together, but who hold positions that best make use of their skills and talents, Hartnett said.

Graduate student Andrea Love works as an office assistant in the SOE and also took a developmental class from Rowley last quarter.

She appreciates how Rowley takes the time to talk with everyone on staff.

"He’s very caring. He just has a presence about him that makes you feel like you can talk to him," Love said.

Love finds it hard to imagine what the department will be like without Rowley.

"I feel like he’s a big part about what makes this a good place," she said.

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Title: Rowley to retire after 12 years | Author: Beth Douglass | Section: News | Published Date: 2008-04-30 | Internal ID: 6481