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Carmen Manning named College of Education and Human Sciences dean

June 2, 2014
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Dr. Carmen Manning

EAU CLAIRE — Dr. Carmen Manning has been named the next dean of the College of Education and Human Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire following a national search.

Manning will assume the position of dean July 17. She will replace Dr. Gail Scukanec, who has taken on a new part-time administrative role with the university in academic affairs.

"Knowing firsthand the demands of the position, I believe Carmen Manning will be an excellent dean for the college," Scukanec said. "She has the energy and dedication necessary to lead the College of Education and Human Sciences. Her understanding of teacher education and her truly collaborative nature will benefit the entire college."

Manning, currently the chair of the English department at UW-Eau Claire, has an extensive background in the field of education. She earned a bachelor's degree in English and secondary education from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and taught high school English in southeastern Minnesota before earning her master's degree in English from Colorado State University. Manning earned her doctorate in education from the University of Chicago, where she began conducting research in the field of education that continues today.

A main focus of Manning's research has been partnering with national foundations and research groups to use authentic writing assessment in lieu of standardized testing to evaluate K-12 student learning to inform pedagogy and practice. Organizations Manning has collaborated with include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Annenberg Foundation, the National Writing Project, Educational Testing Service, the Hewlett Foundation, the Consortium for Chicago School Research, SRI International and the American Institutes for Research.

"My whole career has been about advocacy for education and collaboration with people who are dedicated to students," Manning said. "First, as a high school English teacher in a small town in Minnesota, through my national research on effective literacy learning, to my work with pre-service teachers and first-year writers at UW-Eau Claire, my work has always focused on creating environments where teaching and learning can flourish."

As dean of UW-Eau Claire's College of Education and Human Sciences, Manning will serve as the intellectual and administrative leader of the college, be the chief advocate for the college's academic programs, and promote scholarly and creative activities of the college's faculty and academic staff. She will report directly to the provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs.

Manning said serving as the chair of the English department for three years and as a professor of English for 12 years has prepared her for the transition into the role of dean of the College of Education and Human Sciences.

"I am able to identify and address the needs of each individual department while also being able to understand the interplay and inner workings of the college as a whole," Manning said. "I understand that what affects the college affects the departments and vice versa. As an advocate for the College of Education and Human Sciences, I see the dean's role as understanding the opportunities and challenges that face the five disciplines within the college, and then working within the college, the university and the community to promote our strengths and address our challenges."

Manning's background and experience have prepared her well for this position, said Dr. Diane Hoadley, dean of the College of Business and chair of the search committee that recommended Manning.

"Dr. Manning demonstrated good knowledge of the issues and challenges facing education and a keen desire to understand the strengths and challenges of the human sciences departments," Hoadley said. "The committee was impressed with her listening skills, thoughtful responses and her ability to successfully lead complex projects in the academic environment. Dr. Manning has a strong commitment to UW-Eau Claire and this region and has a genuine interest in the success of our students. She has the knowledge, skills and values to be a very successful leader. I am looking forward to working with her."

Manning's goals for the future of the College of Education and Human Sciences include increased outreach to community organizations, support of faculty and staff, and a continued focus on liberal education.

"An important role as the dean is to build relationships with our community partners to enhance the teaching and learning opportunities for our students, as well as to contribute to the ongoing work of our partner organizations," Manning said. "I am eager to reach out to these partner communities and work together to strengthen our shared work. I also will support faculty and staff scholarly research and professional development to maintain the strength of our teaching and our ongoing contributions to knowledge in the field, and will champion a liberal education approach for our professional students to best prepare them for careers in their fields."

Manning is ideally positioned to bring significant demonstrated leadership experience to the College of Education and Human Sciences,said Dr. Patricia A. Kleine, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs.

"The university is preparing to celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2016, and the College of Education and Human Sciences is the only UW-Eau Claire college that has been here since the beginning," Kleine said. "It will be exciting to see the new directions and initiatives the college embraces under the leadership and stewardship of Dean Manning."

As chair of the English department at UW-Eau Claire, Manning has led a team that oversees the largest department on campus, with 32 faculty, 15 full-time instructional academic staff, six part-time instructional academic staff, more than 400 undergraduate majors and minors, and 20 graduate students.

"I am honored to be named dean of this outstanding college, and I look forward to working with the dedicated faculty and staff to continue the college's tradition of excellence in preparing liberally educated professionals poised to meet the needs of 21st-century society," Manning said.

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