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A Web Letter from the Office of the Provost - April 2022

By Mary Jane Chew

VanFossen named Interim Dean of Education

Jay Akridge, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and diversity, has announced the appointment of Phillip J. VanFossen as interim dean for the College of Education, effective July 1, 2022. 

VanFossen, the James F. Ackerman Distinguished Professor of Social Studies Education, and director of the James F. Ackerman Center for Democratic Citizenship, is stepping in for Nancy Marchand-Martella, who has accepted the role of provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs for the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.

VanFossen is also the associate director of the Purdue University Center for Economic Education, where he teaches introductory economics courses for the Economics department. He joined the Purdue faculty in 1997 and has served as head of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in the College of Education (2009-2016) and as the college’s interim associate dean for learning (2016-2017). 

“I am very pleased that Phil VanFossen has agreed to serve as interim dean,” said Jay Akridge, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and diversity. “He is an outstanding scholar and educator and proven administrator, and I’m confident that the College will continue to move forward in exciting ways under his leadership as we search for a new dean.”

In 2002, VanFossen was named a University Faculty Scholar, and in 2009 he was chosen as a CIC Academic Leadership Program Fellow. He has been selected as the Purdue chapter of Kappa Delta Pi’s Outstanding University Professor three times. His research interests include how economics and social studies teachers use the Internet and digital media in their teaching.

In 2017, President Daniels appointed him faculty athletic representative and in this role he works with Purdue’s Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and serves as a liaison with the Big Ten Conference and the NCAA. VanFossen was a member of the Civics Literacy Working Group (CLWG), that developed Purdue’s Civics Literacy Proficiency and the Purdue Civics Knowledge Test and continues to serve on the civics literacy advisory group.

“I am honored and humbled to be asked to serve as the interim dean of the College of Education,” said VanFossen. “I have been blessed to have a variety of experiences over my 25 years at Purdue and I will draw on all of these in working to move the College forward as we conduct the search for our next dean. I want to thank Dean Marchand-Martella for her service to the College. During her tenure we developed and adopted a new strategic plan, revised the College bylaws and—most importantly—we created the Innovation Initiative (I2), a cutting-edge program that transformed our teacher preparation programs. I look forward to working with faculty, staff, and students to support the outstanding work being done across all of our program areas.”

The dean search advisory committee, chaired by Gary Bertoline, senior vice president for Purdue Online and Learning Innovation, plans to hold on-campus interviews for the position in early fall.