UW News

May 26, 2005

Christine Ingebritsen named acting dean of undergraduate education

Christine Ingebritsen has been named acting dean and acting vice provost in the Office of Undergraduate Education. Ingebritsen, who was formerly associate dean of the office, is also an associate professor of Scandinavian Studies. She will be filling the position formerly held by George Bridges, who will become president of Whitman College in July.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for me to play a leadership role in an area that I care about,” Ingebritsen said of the appointment.

Ingebritsen has been associate dean for the past two years, during which she has been involved in such projects as developing learning goals across the campus and preparing the accreditation report; putting together the Office of Undergraduate Education’s diversity appraisal report for Rusty Barcelo, vice president for minority affairs; and serving as the point person for teaching academy programs.

Recruited to the Office of Undergraduate Education by Bridges, Ingebritsen said she took the associate dean position partly because she “cares deeply” about teaching. “So this seemed like a good fit with my passions, and I also really came to work for George, because I respect him very much in recognizing excellence in teaching, and in reaching out to faculty and supporting them.”

Ingebritsen came to the UW in 1992 fresh out of graduate school at Cornell, attracted by the University’s strengths in international studies, Scandinavian studies and political science. She is a political scientist whose expertise is in Scandinavian foreign policy.

So it’s not surprising that one of the things Ingebritsen would like to do in her role as acting dean is to focus on global learning opportunities. “I would like to make faculty members more aware of the opportunities for them to take students to international sites, to places where they are doing research and to build out our undergraduate research program to include international research opportunities that are modeled after the Friday Harbor lab experience,” she said.

A second item on Ingebritsen’s agenda for undergraduate education is a program similar to one she experienced as an undergraduate at a small liberal arts school — a pre-orientation outing.

“Students who are new to the University will be invited to go, for example, on a bike trip with a staff or faculty member, to get to know the city,” Ingebritsen explained. “It helps to make the institution feel smaller; it helps students to understand the place even before they take their first class and to connect with other students.”

The program will be piloted in the fall during Dawg Daze, with Stan Chernicoff, assistant dean for academic support in the undergraduate education office, in charge.

Ingebritsen said the undergraduate education office will also be looking at two recent reports as it plots its future. One is an external review of advising across the campus. “That’s something our new president is concerned about,” she said, “that we be better coordinated, that we have more contact points with students, that we emulate peer institutions who are doing this differently than we are.”

The second is a program review of the honors program. Ingebritsen said the office would like to find a way to grow the program and to better involve faculty across the campus.

The office is also participating in an Undergraduate Education Working Group along with representatives from Student Affairs. With the impending retirement of Ernest Morris, vice president for student affairs, and the expected arrival of a new provost soon, the time is right to conduct “an open discussion of what we can do to better serve our students and faculty,” Ingebritsen said.

She said the search for a new dean of undergraduate education won’t get under way until next January, and she won’t know until then whether she wants to be a candidate. But in the meantime, she’s looking forward to the job.

“I’m excited to have the opportunity to play this role, particularly at this moment, with an incoming provost,” Ingebritsen said. “We have a president who cares about the undergraduate learning experience, and he’s communicated that to us. So I think this is an opportunity to redirect our energies, continue our strengths and serve our undergraduates in important ways. We’re not just keeping the lights on.”