Month-long search results in new dean of education

Haley Russell
Assistant News Editor

David Whaley knew when he visited campus a month ago that Murray State was a good fit for him.

Now, several meetings and interviews later, Whaley, current associate dean of the College of Human Sciences at Iowa State University, has been selected as the new dean for the College of Education at Murray State.

Whaley said he is looking forward to many years at the University.

“I am incredibly excited about the opportunity that lies ahead as Dean of the College of Education at Murray State University,” he said. “I am honored that I have been selected for this important role and the trust that others have placed in me and I look forward to many great years ahead at Murray State.”

His intent and goal when he takes on his new role as dean on July 1 is to “hit the ground listening,” Whaley said.

“My focus will be on learning the expectations that others have for the college – and for me,” he said. “I look forward to the meaningful opportunity to work closely with faculty, staff, students and other college stakeholders to co-construct a vision for the future of the college.”

Whaley said he puts emphasis on and believes that inclusion within the faculty and staff leaders is vital to the college’s success.

He said it is too early to say what specific changes should be made during his time as dean, but good decisions are never made in isolation, Whaley said.

“Successful change is based on informed input from multiple stakeholders that carefully considers resources, expectations and reflects a solid base of knowledge,” he said. “Any change has to consider the impact on the people both faculty and staff and with students and it cannot be changed merely for the sake of change.”

Though Whaley does not intend to change aspects of the college for the sake of doing so, he does plan to evaluate strengths and weaknesses.

“Because we are the stewards of the education process, we have the obligation to look carefully at what we do and to highlight those things we do well, while at the same time, being vigilant for innovations that succeed,” he said.

The dean, Whaley said, must be a representative and face of the University.

“The dean must fully embody the concept of servanthood and implement an infrastructure of support enabling faculty and staff to excel and innovate,” he said. “This leads to a vibrant learning environment that attracts and grows students.”

It is also important is to be engaged in both the University and the city’s communities, he said.

Whaley said relationships must be created with the local and regional school systems.

Also important are partnerships in the private sector and those with the military, he said.

“One of the many assets of Murray State University that attracted me to this position is its continued ranking as a ‘military friendly school,’” he said. “My son helped me to better understand the unique needs of our military veterans from overseas conflicts and I am so pleased to be joining an academic community that already recognizes the importance of this particular role.”

Whaley said he is not only excited to become a part of the Murray State community, but the city’s community as well.

“It will be a highlight day for (my wife and I) when we arrive in Murray to embrace our lives as new members of the community and Murray State University,” he said.

Renae Duncan, associate provost of undergraduate studies, said Whaley was chosen not only because of his extensive experiences, but because of his personality and fit in the University.

“He was very positively received,” Duncan said. “I spent quite a bit of time with Dr. Whaley while he was here, and he’s just a genuinely likeable, nice person.

President Randy Dunn said he thinks Whaley will help contribute to his regional outreach inititiative through progarms like K12Connect.

“I think David will have the ability to pull a lot of parties together and get them continuing to work even more collaboratively to bring about some good things for the college,” he said.