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New places, new faces: Pedersen announced as dean of Human Sciences and Education

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John E. Pedersen was recently announced as the new dean of the College of Human Sciences and Education, and believes that this collegiate combination is in line with his educational beliefs. 

A season of change has settled over the Oklahoma State campus. Changes in class settings, education delivery and even staff.

Enter: Jon E Pedersen.

Pedersen was recently announced to be the new dean for the College of Human Sciences and Education.

Pedersen earned his Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction-Science Education, M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction and B.S. in Agriculture-Biochemistry and Nutrition all at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

He is currently working as the Dean of the College of Education at the University of South Carolina. 

Originally from Nebraska, Pedersen is excited to get back to his Midwest roots. He and his family plan to transition to OSU in early July 2021. 

“My philosophy when applying for jobs is that you never leave somewhere, you always go somewhere,” Pedersen said. “OSU is a very prestigious institution, and the recently combined College of Education and Human Sciences offers such a unique perspective with all of the different departments coming together.” 

Pedersen’s perspective on higher education is that the focus should be on the whole child and the whole human that is learning. He feels that OSU’s recent combination of College of Education, Health and Aviation, and the College of Human Sciences into the College of Human Sciences and Education matches this purpose that he is so passionate about. 

The process for hiring a new dean of a college is lengthy. Thomas Coon, who serves as Dean of the Ferguson College of Agriculture, was head of the Search and Screening Committee who worked and helped in the process of narrowing down candidates. 

The Search and Screening Committee was involved in narrowing down candidates at every step of the hiring process until it reaches the final three candidates. However, this committee does not actually have any say in who is hired in the end. 

“I don’t think there was anything about the college that was a mystery to (Pedersen),” Coon said. “First, he knows what it is like to be a dean because he has already been one. Second, he is very familiar with the education profession and disciplines from his expertise in science education but also having been an administrator for quite a while. Third, he was really excited about the breadth of the college and the merging of the two colleges. I think that really attracted him to this position.”

Pedersen is excited about joining the Cowboy Family. He most looks forward to the people he will be working alongside in the college and in the Stillwater community.

“It really impressed me not only during the interviewing process but subsequently when it was announced that I was the inaugural dean, the outpouring from people within the college and the university and even retired faculty emailed to congratulate me and tell me how excited they were for me. That is so exciting to me that the culture of the college and university is so open and welcoming,” Pedersen said.

Pedersen plans to spend his first couple of months at OSU intentionally listening and gaining an understanding of the culture that is in place here. He feels it is a collective effort between faculty, staff and students to look for innovation and strengths within the college. 

“This position at OSU looked like an extremely valuable opportunity for me. I applied, and the rest is history. I am very honored and humbled to be the inaugural dean,” Pedersen said.