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University of Dayton College of Arts and Sciences appoints James as associate dean for assessment and program review

By Dave Larsen

The University of Dayton College of Arts and Sciences appointed Denise James as associate dean for assessment and program review. James, associate professor of philosophy and director of the Women’s and Gender Studies program, joined the University faculty in 2008. She started her appointment Aug. 16.

In this newly created role, James will provide leadership in the assessment of student learning and program review processes and outcomes across the College’s 28 departments and programs. She will work with department chairs and program directors to develop and deploy assessment plans and to assure full compliance with annual continuous improvement activities, including necessary quality expectations for maintaining Higher Learning Commission accreditation.

She also will serve as a member of College Dean Jason Pierce’s leadership team.

“As a faculty member and campus leader, Dr. James understands the importance of assessment and program review to the College and University, as well as the opportunities to advance in a collaborative manner a culture of assessment and review,” Pierce said. “As was evident from the hiring search, she will bring a creative set of ideas to this work — strategic and practical — that draws upon best practices from UD and other institutions. She also understands the wide range of curricula and learning outcomes one finds across the College, and varying levels of familiarity with assessment and program review.”

As the Women’s and Gender Studies program director, James used a data-driven, best practice-guided approach to assess and improve the program. Adapting resources from national associations to conduct reviews, she evaluated the program and identified potential growth areas, which led to the successful restructuring of the women’s and gender studies major in fall 2020.

With funding from a Mellon Foundation grant, James co-chairs the American Philosophical Association’s Philosophy in an Inclusive Key Summer Institute, which encourages undergraduate students from underrepresented groups to pursue graduate studies in philosophy. She has led efforts to revamp the institute’s assessment and program review processes.

“The College of Arts and Sciences offers students a world-class education,” James said. “I am looking forward to meeting with all of the department chairs and program directors in the College to determine how I can best support their efforts to deepen the student learning experience through efficient and meaningful assessment.”

James’ University leadership experience includes serving as co-chair of the President’s Commission on the Status of Women and as a member of the College’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategic Planning Committee, where she co-chairs a subcommittee on equity and professional development.

Her primary research interest is American social and political philosophy. Currently, she is writing a contracted book about the life and political thought of American poet, feminist and civil rights activist Audre Lorde.

James holds doctorate and master’s degrees in philosophy from Emory University, and a bachelor’s in philosophy from Spelman College.

Jon Hess, College associate dean for faculty scholarship, internationalization and inclusive excellence, chaired the search committee. Committee members also included Danielle Poe, associate dean for curriculum and outcomes; Don Pair, associate dean for interdisciplinary research and experiential initiatives; Carola Daffner, Department of Global Languages and Cultures chair; Wiebke Diestelkamp, Department of Mathematics chair; and Joel Whitaker, Department of Art and Design chair.

For more information, visit the College of Arts and Sciences website.

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