Higher ed — Former dean of the schools College of Education interim provost since June

Having served as interim provost at George Fox University since June, former College of Education dean Linda Samek no longer has to worry about whether she will still be at the school after being hired on a permanent basis in December.

“I tell people this means I have to live with any decision I make for sure,” Samek said.

Samek was speaking mostly in jest, but having been selected through a process that included a national search for candidates, she can really dig into some of the long-term issues and projects that come with the position.

Among her goals as provost, Samek lists developing a strategic plan for educational technology and faculty development, as well as ensuring the academic success of the school’s increasingly diverse student population.

She has already helped the school transition to a new academic structure, going from schools to colleges, and will continue to work with the university’s six deans as they assume more responsibility for budgeting and curriculum management.

While students aren’t likely to see that much of a difference at this point, Samek believes that program quality should increase over time as the focus of strategic planning becomes more individualized and autonomous among the colleges rather than university wide.

“It’s hard for somebody in a vice president’s position to try to look across the university,” Samek said. “We’re a pretty complex place, so pushing that down to the dean level, where I think they know their programs well, they know their people and can look at a budget and get more meaning out of looking at those things than somebody who is more removed.”

Samek replaces Patrick Allen, who took a faculty position in the doctoral program in the College of Education, where Samek had served as dean since 2008.

Following a stint as deputy director and coordinator of teacher education for Oregon’s Teacher Standards and Practices Commission and as co-director of the Oregon University System’s Quality Assurance in Teaching Program in the early 2000s, Samek served as a provost at Corban University from 2006 to 2008.

“I am pleased to make a long-term commitment to the George Fox community,” Samek said. “I feel very much at home here and am looking forward to the coming-of-age of a great university.”

As an educator, Samek was chairwoman of a number of accreditation teams for the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, and she’s been a member of various statewide task forces shaping public PreK-12 education, including the Chalkboard Project Task Force on Teacher and Administrator Quality and the Education Pathways Project.

Samek is in the midst of her second stint at George Fox, having taught there from 1996 to 2000 and serving as chairwoman of the school’s department of education from 1997 to 2000.

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