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Joan DeGuire North, dean of the College of Professional Studies (CPS) at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, has announced her retirement on July 31. With over 25 years at the university, North is the longest acting dean in college history. The college was founded in 1970.
Six schools, one division, and one department make up the college, including the School of Business & Economics, the School of Education and the newly named School of Health Care Professions. Within these are 12 different undergraduate majors, 14 minors and six graduate programs.
CPS employs 72 faculty members, 57 academic staff and 17 classified staff members. In addition, CPS employs 15 graduate students through graduate assistantships and another 195 undergraduate students who hold part-time positions within the college.
Under North’s watch, nearly all CPS programs have become accredited by national accrediting bodies, including the American Dietetic Association, the American Speech Language and Hearing Association, the Foundation of Interior Design Education Research, the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, the Commission on the Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs and the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Science. The health promotion and wellness program was the first program to receive accreditation from the National Wellness Institute.
Three new majors—health sciences, athletic training and health promotion—were recently established and all classrooms and labs have been renovated with the latest technologies. Currently, a new Military Science Annex is scheduled to be built on campus.
A collaborative business degree program with UW-Marathon County and the clinical doctorate in audiology, offered in collaboration with UW-Madison, have been established.
The word “partnerships” is key to the North years on campus. She established the nationally acclaimed “Teaching Partners” program featuring faculty and teaching academic staff members who are paired and asked to begin a discussion about teaching and learning. Partners are paired across disciplines to give them an opportunity to meet colleagues in a field outside of their own and to be exposed to new teaching perspectives.
On behalf of students in all majors, CPS has partnered with working professionals in organizations such as Sentry Insurance, Aspirus, Avada Hearing Care, Marshfield Clinic, St. Clare’s Hospital, St. Michael’s Hospital and 19 hospital affiliates, plus over 100 school districts, including Stevens Point Area Public Schools and Stevens Point Area Catholic Schools.
In 2002, North was instrumental in celebrating the 100-year mark for the historic home economics program on campus, ultimately creating the Home Economics Centennial Fund which provides financial support to bring intellectuals of national prominence to the UWSP campus and offers scholarships to students studying in related fields.
Pointer Athletics has also been part of North’s purview. Last year, UW-Stevens Point finished the 2008-2009 season ranked seventh (and the only Wisconsin university to finish in the top 10) in the Directors’ Cup Standings, which measures the nation’s top overall NCAA Division III athletics programs among all 443 D-III Schools. UWSP has finished in the top 25 of the prestigious Directors’ Cup standings for twelve seasons straight.
A native of St. Louis, North received her bachelor of science in English with teacher certification at Spring Hill College, Mobile, Ala., her master’s in English at the University of Alabama and her doctorate in educational administration at the University of Alabama with a minor in industrial relations from the Graduate School of Business.
“I’ve laughed a lot, sought opportunities wherever there were problems, and cheered for individual initiative,” says North. She intends to spend more time volunteering at the Q Gallery in downtown Stevens Point. North and her husband, Storm, are building an “eco home” on Eagle Pointe Lake in the Stevens Point area. A design studio is part of the house plans.