The Home School Court Report
No. 4

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by David Halbrook
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PHC Names New Dean of Academic Affairs

Having helped guide Patrick Henry College through its recent accreditation process with the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS), Dr. Laura McCollum, dean of institutional assessment, has been named the college’s new dean of academic affairs. She officially assumed her new role on July 1 in preparation for the fall 2007 semester.

Dr. Laura McCollum

“I am delighted that Dr. McCollum has accepted this appointment,” said PHC Provost Gene Edward Veith. “As dean of assessment, she was responsible for addressing institutional and curricular issues, many of them highly subtle and of a technical nature, that needed to be changed.”

“As dean of academic affairs,” he added, “Dr. McCollum will be in a position to ensure that PHC continues in those kinds of improvements, which will manifest itself in a stronger school for everyone. Considering also the excellent new faculty members we are bringing on, we can all look forward to next year.”

PHC President Graham Walker enthusiastically welcomed Dr. McCollum’s appointment. “The college needed someone of Dr. McCollum’s intellectual caliber and administrative acumen in this newly-defined role. She will powerfully support Dr. Veith’s work as provost. She is truly a gift from the Lord.”

—Dr. Graham Walker, PHC President

“I’m honored to have been considered and selected,” said Dr. McCollum. “I am very excited about the future, and am deeply committed to the classical Christian liberal arts. I look forward to working under the administrative team we have in Drs. Walker and Veith, and alongside our highly qualified and committed faculty.”

A key moment in considering the position, she recalled, occurred while sitting in the decisive TRACS accreditation meeting on April 17, 2007, in Virginia Beach, with Drs. Farris, Walker, and Veith, fielding critical questions posed by the accreditation commission. “That day when we all sat together at the TRACS meeting confirmed that this is what the Lord wanted me to do,” she recalled. “It just felt very natural and seamless, as if we were divinely anointed as a team.”

As dean of academic affairs, Dr. McCollum explained that she will be serving, in practice, as an “assistant chief academic officer to the provost,” managing the development and implementation of academic and curricular policies and procedures. A first order of business, she noted, will be the completion of faculty hiring for the fall semester, and “the implementation and bringing to maturity of all the ongoing processes and protocols we’ve adopted in the past year.”

Of focal concern in the coming year, she allowed, is the systematic strengthening of the college’s academic programs, “so that we are practically and not just symbolically integrating faith and reason. I’m also looking forward to working with Sandy Corbitt (dean of student life) to further meld together academics and spiritual life.”

Dr. McCollum earned her EdD in Curriculum and Instruction from Seattle Pacific University, and her MEd in Curriculum and Instruction from Southern Oregon University.

Prior to coming to Patrick Henry College, Dr. McCollum served as director of academic assessment and as an assistant professor of education at Oklahoma Wesleyan University in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. She was responsible for the collection, synthesis, and interpretation of all institutional data for evaluation and accreditation reporting at multiple levels (local, regional, and national). She also developed new assessment measures and protocols at the university, intended to enhance strengths and remediate weaknesses cited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Preceding her time at Oklahoma Wesleyan, Dr. McCollum served as the chief regional administrator and lead faculty member at National University in Redding, California. There her administrative duties included supervising nearly 30 faculty members, as well as overseeing three graduate degree programs, one undergraduate degree program, seven post-baccalaureate credential programs, and one state certification program.

About the author

David Halbrook is director of communications at Patrick Henry College.