Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Dean Campbell to retire this year

“To see how this community – whether it was a residence hall floor, or a team, or a professor and some people in a class – to see those people come together and support a student and to get them to a better place, I mean, that’s what I remember about my job here, is the opportunity to be in a community where people really do care and really do help each other. And I got to be in a position to help a lot of students, but always within a context of the community.” – Dean Evelyn S. Campbell
On Wednesday, Mar. 21, the Augustana campus received an email that Dean Evelyn S. Campbell, vice president and dean of student life, was retiring after 27 years working with the college.
Campbell became the college’s vice president and dean of student services in 1991, making her the longest-serving member of Augustana’s senior leadership team. She is also the first female vice president the college has had.
“She was a great teacher to me in thinking about how to help our students grow in mind, body and spirit, how to be an advocate for students, how to care for our students and how to help our students hold themselves to high standards,” President Bahls said, reflecting on when he first started working with Campbell in 2003.
When she first started working as dean, there was less technology – no cell phones and no social media. Her job has changed from an eight-to-five position to a 24-hour position. According to Campbell, the access to communication and the busyness of life has been the biggest change for her. She believes students have become busier and more involved over the years.
She has decided to leave the college to spend more time with family. Her parents are 87 and 90 years old, and Campbell said she decided no longer to divide the attention needed for both her parents and her job.
She would tell the Augustana students and community to “live life intentionally. I think every life is precious, every life can be fragile at times… and whenever we cross someone’s path we leave a mark on them – I don’t it’s a neutral mark, it’s a hurtful mark or a helpful mark –I think all of us need to try and leave helpful marks.”
Provost and Dean of the College, Dr. Gail Summer, remembered a time when Campbell left a helpful mark on a family. Last May, Campbell was driving and saw a stalled car with a mother and her two children, a four day old and an 11 month old. Campbell helped get the car started, made sure they got home okay and has been helping the family every since. According to Summer, Campbell tries to help support the family in whatever way she can, including giving the dad a ride to work and sometimes helping with the family’s laundry.
In the future, in addition to spending time with her family, Campbell would like to volunteer and travel. She said she would like to go to any place warm, but she’d also like to visit Alaska because of the wildlife, and because she thinks it’s “dramatic.”
Campbell’s departure will have no effect on the semester transitions in 2020. Bahls wants to hire someone with experience and “hit the ground running.” He added, “Of course we’ll miss a step or two when you bring on a new vice president, but only a step or two.”
According to Bahls, Campbell has left a legacy on the Augustana campus.
“I think her legacy is focus on the students, focus on student well-being, recognize that students are in a time period where they’re growing at Augustana, be patient with students, but ask our students to hold themselves to high standards. I see her legacy continuing here. And my goal is to hire someone very student-centered,” Bahls said.
During week four, the administration will announce a search committee to find her replacement. The committee will be chaired by Sheri Curran. According to Bahls, they will conduct a national search.
“It’s been a pleasure over the last 15 years to work with Dean Campbell. She has been a strong member of the leadership team and helping me stay focused on students, as we think about strengthening Augustana College. She has been responsive to student needs. She’s been a great advocate for diversity, student safety and student achievement at the college,” Bahls said.

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Dean Campbell to retire this year