Students are always central at Central College. Now, under a unique framework with the Academic Affairs and Student Development offices, Central is unveiling an educational model unlike any in the country that helps provide for each student’s personal and educational growth.
Integrated Learning links the classroom to the learning taking place outside it, both important aspects of a Central College education. The Academic Affairs and Student Development offices work in tandem to support students’ academic growth, as well as their personal development and well-being.
At many colleges, successes and challenges in students’ personal lives are handled only by student life, while classroom learning is the sole responsibility of academic offices. Conversely, issues that first-year students deal with differ from those facing seniors, but colleges typically treat them as though they are the same.
Central is changing that model by ensuring academics are aligned with the developmental stages students go through during their college careers. The two offices work together to create shared goals and learning outcomes for each class of students.
Each of the four class deans will follow one class throughout their four years at Central, serving as guides to the students in that class as they choose majors, navigate courses and decide on a career. Meanwhile, the class directors are the resident experts on challenges facing students in their freshman, sophomore, junior or senior years. All the deans and directors will act as mentors, teachers and college liaisons and will get to know each student in their assigned class on an individual basis.
Eric Jones, Director of Academic Resources, is the Class Dean for the Class of 2016 (first-year class). Eric has broad experience and a deep commitment to student success. He is a 1987 graduate of Central College and received a master’s degree in counseling/professional studies from Iowa State University in 1994. His contributions to Central have been as diverse and as deep as his talents and have included roles as Interim Dean of Students, Interim Director of Residential Life, Associate Director of Admission, instructor of Introduction to College Success (ICS) and assistant football coach. For five years, he was the Director of Academic Success, where he worked extensively with many first-year students. This appointment enables him to work with an entire incoming class of students throughout their four years at Central.
Brian Peterson, Professor of Economics, is the Class Dean for the Class of 2015. Brian received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Dayton and master’s and doctoral degrees in economics from Indiana University. He was an associate professor at Manchester College in Indiana prior to joining the faculty at Central College in 2004. Peterson has served as interim chair in the Economics, Accounting and Management Department where, in addition to teaching courses in economics, he has served as the honors thesis supervisor or honors thesis committee member for nine students the past six years. Peterson has also served as chair of both the Faculty Personnel Committee and the Faculty Policy Committee and received the Dr. John Wesselink Award for Outstanding Performance in Institutional Service.
Anne Petrie, Professor of Music, is the Class Dean for the Class of 2014. Petrie received a bachelor’s degree in music with highest honors from the University of Illinois, where she also completed a master of music degree. She earned a doctor of musical arts degree in voice performance from the University of Oklahoma. Petrie has been a faculty member at Central College since 1986 and is the current Central Region Governor of the National Association of Teachers of Singing. Anne has served as chair of the Music Department and the Division of Fine Arts and co-chair of the Theatre Department. She has been a member of the following committees: Cultural Affairs, Policy and Personnel, Curriculum, Campus Life and Teacher Education. She is the faculty liaison for Central College Abroad Vienna. Petrie speaks four languages (English, German, French, and Russian) and also reads Italian.
Leslie Duinink, Associate Professor of Exercise Science, is the Class Dean for the Class of 2013. Duinink is a Central College graduate with a degree in history and an emphasis in secondary education and received a master’s degree from Indiana State University in physical education with an emphasis in athletic training. She is both a state licensed and nationally certified athletic trainer and was named the Iowa Athletic Trainers’ Society College/University Athletic Trainer of the Year in 2010. She has served on the Central College Athletic Training accreditation team, the Research and Development Committee and the Technology Committee. She has served as the reader or advisor for five honors thesis in recent years. Duinink has also served as the chair of the Curriculum Committee and as a member of the Academic Advising Task Force.
Jeremy Siefken is the Class Director for first-year students and the Director of Student Involvement. He is a 2008 graduate of Central College with a degree in general studies with focus areas in political science, sociology and education. Siefken attended Loyola University Chicago and obtained his master’s in higher education. Before accepting his position, he was instrumental in working in the office of first-year experience and the first and second year advising program at Loyola, as well as residential education and housing at St. Norbert College.
Molly Bauman, Area Coordinator for the Townhouses, is Class Director for second-year students. She graduated from Luther College in 2008 with a degree in music and concentration in management. At Iowa State, Bauman gained her master’s in higher education administration/student affairs and was a graduate assistant in the Department of Residence. Bauman also advises the Sophomore Series on campus.
Brandyn Woodard is the Class Director for third-year students and Director of Intercultural Life. Woodard received a bachelor’s degree from Carnegie Mellon University and a master’s from Webster University. He served as a member of the Peace Corps in Turkmenistan from 1995-98. Prior to joining the Central staff in 2006, Woodard served as the Director of International Student affairs at Webster University in St. Louis. A leader in educating students, faculty and staff on issues regarding cultural competence, Woodard has also served on the Faculty Campus Life and Inaugural Year committees, re-implemented SafeZone training, is a founding member of Iowa’s I.D.E.A. (Impacting Diversity through Educational Alliances) Conference, is a Qualified Administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI), and has taught the Intersections class for four years.
Melissa Sharkey is the Class Director for seniors and Director of Residence Life. Sharkey is a Grand View University graduate with a degree in elementary education and received a master’s degree from Drake University in 2010. A member of Central’s Residence Life Office since 2005, she served as Director of Residence Life since 2010. Sharkey was an Intersections class instructor in fall, 2011, and she serves on the Emergency Planning and Common Reading Committees.