Interim Dean of the College of Education brings decades of experience
December 20, 2022
By BZ Zuniga
The tech boom and pandemic have repositioned educators. At CSUMB’s College of Education, long committed to innovation in learning, Interim Dean David England is now guiding the course.
He has spent decades in teaching and leadership positions at colleges and universities across the U.S., developing courses and programs which ensure the educators of tomorrow have the skills they need to guide students.
Coming out of retirement and relocating to CSUMB this past July from his home of many years in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, England has been encouraged by what he has encountered.
“Presidential transitions are always energizing,” he says. “And President Quinonez’s visibility, energy, and collaborative nature have already made a positive impact.”
“I also have great respect for Provost Katardjieff’s experienced and leadership skills, and for her entire team,” he continues. He describes the deans as collegial and astute, and the education faculty as an excellent blend of experience and folks newer to the profession.
“The staff here is highly dedicated and competent.”
He says CSUMB is the youngest university he’s ever served at (the College of Education was established in 2014), and recognizes that he comes in during a period of transition — returning to campus after Covid, amid shifting attitudes about higher education, and with the ubiquitous necessity to manage budgets prudently.
“I relish applying my past experience to novel issues,” he says. “Addressing problems that are unique to a university context but are also ones that I’ve encountered before always gets the academic leadership juices flowing again.”
He previously served as Dean of the Colleges of Education at Western Michigan and Kent State Universities, as Provost at Our Lady of the Lake College in Baton Rouge, and held positions in the administration at Oklahoma State University and Louisiana State University.
His most recent position was at Sonoma State University as Interim Dean of the College of Education, from which he learned things that are applicable to CSUMB.
“Having had a year in the CSU system certainly has helped me here,” he says. “Understanding the complexity of the CSU system and its unique credentialing program are examples.”
I also understand that interims should not bite off more than they can chew,” he says. “Rather, one must quickly determine those areas where positive improvements might be made in the short term. Gaining the trust and respect of faculty in a year is possible, and essential.”
He ascribes to a servant-leader style and collaborative decision making, with a healthy streak of practicality, and tries to not avoid ever taking himself too seriously.
“Treating everyone with respect and modeling collegiality is important to me,” he says. “You can’t be a good leader if you’re not a good manager. In this case that’s keeping the trains running on time, managing the budget and capacity prudently, and taking into account the needs, aspirations, and abilities of the faculty and staff.”
He remains a staunch advocate for Schools and Colleges of Education.
“There is no substitute for content knowledge. But the sequenced, professionally guided induction of clinical experiences and internships, and observing and mastering research-tested best practices, are essential as well,” he says.
He was expecting warmer days filled with California sunshine, not the often chilly Pacific breezes and foggy skies, but he and his wife have continued to learn about and enjoy California’s Central Coast.
He says although they miss their three daughters, 11 grandchildren, one new great grandchild and two golden doodles, he says “You can be a Cleveland baseball fan anywhere.”
Additional reporting by Walter Ryce