Karen Chaney, Ph.D., has been named dean of faculty at Olivet College, according to an announcement from President Steven M. Corey, Ph.D.
Chaney previously served as associate dean of academic affairs at Olivet. She is also assistant professor of religious studies and ethics, as well as chair of the Liberal Arts Core curriculum.
“I’m pleased to announce that Karen Chaney has been appointed to this new position.” Corey said. “Consultation with the Academic Committee of the Board of Trustees, the Academic Leadership Council, board leadership and the Olivet College faculty revealed strong support for Karen and the good work she has already been doing in academic affairs. She is a remarkable person and a wonderful colleague who holds intellectual advancement and student learning as high ideals.”
Serving under the direction of the provost, the dean of faculty contributes to the success of Olivet College by promoting a positive and challenging academic environment on campus through the leadership, support and development of the college’s faculty and academic programs.
“Karen is an excellent leader in curriculum development and student learning at Olivet College, and I am pleased that her leadership role has extended to the position of dean of faculty,” said Maria Davis, Ph.D., provost and dean of the college. “I look forward to collaborating with her in this capacity.”
In her new role, Chaney will provide leadership on faculty- and curriculum-related academic issues and will work with department chairs and faculty on academic program development and oversight, strategic planning, faculty engagement and development, and academic resource management. As part of the college’s administrative leadership, she will work in concert with the president, provost and other senior leaders to promote positive and productive working relationships, and to drive an ethic of excellence at Olivet College.
Chaney, who began her career at Olivet College in 2008, has spent much of the past few years working with the provost to advance the college’s academic programs and Liberal Arts Core curriculum. Currently, her major responsibilities include overseeing faculty efforts regarding student learning and assessment, as well as leading the college’s routine accreditation renewal through the Higher Learning Commission.
A scholar of religious studies and ethics, Chaney was also one of only 25 professors selected from institutions across the nation to participate in a five-day Teaching Interfaith Understanding seminar at DePaul University in August. Participants in the seminar explored cases of interfaith conflict and tension, and identified means of proactively addressing and preventing issues that may arise related to those situations.
Chaney earned a Ph.D. in social ethics from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. in political theory from James Madison College and the Honors College at Michigan State University.