Dr. Norris Friesen named interim dean

Huntington, Indiana — Dr. Norris Friesen has been named interim Vice President and Dean of Huntington College. The appointment follows Dr. Ron Webb’s announcement that he will leave the Office of the Dean to accept appointment as Senior Vice President and Provost of Jingmei University, located just outside Beijing, China.

Webb, who has been HC’s chief academic officer for four years, calls his new role in China a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity. He will play a key role in launching the new institution of higher learning. Jingmei University will be an American-style university staffed entirely by Christians. The focus will be on “preparing young men and women for leadership in China for the twenty-first century.” Webb desires to play an active role in developing a worldview-oriented curriculum.

In his new position, Webb will draw from his extensive international experience. He taught for two years at the Abadan Institute of Technology in Iran and has taught or consulted in the Netherlands, Russia, Germany, England, China, Costa Rica, and Brazil.

“Ron Webb has impacted Huntington College in many significant ways, including academic restructuring, internationalization of the curriculum, and the integration of faith and learning,” said President G. Blair Dowden. “We are very grateful for his work at Huntington College, and we wish him well in this new and exciting venture.”

Dr. Norris Friesen was nominated by President Dowden for a one-year appointment as interim Dean. The Board of Trustees approved the appointment during their regular spring meeting, April 25-26.

A veteran of the HC administration, Friesen became Dean of Student Services in 1985, then was promoted to Vice President for Student Development in 1993. Dr. Friesen earned a bachelor’s degree in German from Tabor College, a master’s degree in Higher Education Administration from Kansas State University, and a PhD in Counseling and Student Affairs Administration from Purdue University.

“I feel that Dr. Friesen will do an outstanding job in this interim position,” said President Dowden. “His understanding of Huntington College and our academic program and his strong administrative and leadership skills will help us to continue our momentum and efforts in ‘bettering our best’ in the College’s academic programs and support services.”

A formal search for a permanent appointment will begin this fall.

In related action, the Trustees approved the appointment of Mr. Ron Coffey as Interim Vice President for Student Development. Mr. Coffey has been employed by Huntington College since 1986 and currently serves as Associate Dean of Student Development He is pursuing doctoral studies in Higher Education Administration and Leadership at Indiana State University.

College Trustees also approved a change in title for Mr. Jeff Berggren to Vice President for Enrollment Management and Marketing. Dr. Ruth Nalliah was promoted from assistant professor to associate professor of chemistry and also granted tenure.

Huntington College is a comprehensive Christian college of the liberal arts offering graduate and undergraduate programs in more than 60 academic concentrations. Founded in 1897 by the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Huntington College is located on a contemporary, lakeside campus in Huntington, Indiana.

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Heather Barkley
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