Carleton has been blessed to have Beverly Nagel ’75 serving with enormous talent, integrity, grace, and success as the Dean of the College for the last 11 years. I write today to share that Bev has informed me of her desire to step down as Dean at the end of the 2020–21 academic year.
It’s been my genuine privilege to work closely on a day-to-day basis with Bev, the Winifred and Atherton Bean Professor of Sociology, Science, Technology, and Society, in her role as our chief academic officer. I have witnessed countless examples of her wisdom, superb sense of academic quality, vision, courage, and leadership on behalf of her alma mater. My admiration and respect for Bev is unbounded, and I know that my assessment of her great talents and appreciation for what she has done for and at Carleton is shared by the wider community.
This is a happy transition for Bev, and I wish her great joy—-even as I confess that it is hard to imagine not having her as my principal academic partner and counselor right down the hall. Bev’s impact on this College has been profound and will be enduring. As Dean since 2009, and as Associate Dean for another four years prior to that, she has been at the epicenter of every recent major academic initiative at Carleton. Let me offer just a few of many possible highlights.
Bev has been responsible for hiring more than 40% of our current faculty. I have been privileged to sit next to her for a decade on the Faculty Personnel Committee, where a long line of colleagues have marveled at her subtle and discerning observations and steady hand in guiding tenure, reappointment, and promotion deliberations. As Dean, Bev has chaired the Budget Committee and has been a key leader in putting—and keeping—the College’s finances on a solid foundation. She has been a powerful and consistent champion for investments in faculty positions, research support, and pedagogical innovation. Indeed, she has repeatedly helped conceive of and brought to fruition new academic initiatives that have enriched our curriculum and garnered direct support from major external funders (e.g., Visualizing the Liberal Arts; Broadening the Bridge collaborations with St. Olaf; Global Engagement Initiative; and Public Works: Arts & Humanities Connecting Communities).
Bev’s highly-successful tenure as Dean has witnessed a significant expansion of faculty ranks; the implementation of a five-course teaching load, growing faculty and staff expertise in technologically-enhanced teaching and learning; and the strengthening of major academic support units such as the Library and the Perlman Museum and the Learning and Teaching Center. She has recruited, mentored, and collaborated with exceptionally talented staff in her Division and office.
But beyond these manifold programmatic and strategic successes, any full description of Bev’s Deanship would also need to emphasize the personal qualities of kindness and sensitivity to colleagues, unflinching integrity, Herculean drive and energy, and warm friendship that characterize her work and relationships with others. She is, in a word, remarkable.
At the close of the 2020–21 academic year, Bev will take a long-overdue and well-deserved sabbatical, preparatory to retiring from the faculty. This will provide her the opportunity to focus on her great scholarly passion of rural grassroots community economic and political development in Paraguay.
I believe Bev has richly earned a place as one of Carleton’s best and most successful Deans, and it will be no easy task to find a most talented successor. I’ll have more thoughts to share as we turn to that matter later this fall. For now, I ask all of you to join with me in saluting Bev and congratulating her on her plans.