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Shepherd dean receives honor from alma mater

By Staff | May 31, 2013

Dr. Colleen Nolan, dean of the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at Shepherd University, has been named the 2013 Women’s Professional and Academic Leadership honoree by Washington State University’s College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS) and Extension.

The award recognizes the achievement of women who have demonstrated professional and academic leadership and honors an outstanding woman who is shaping the future of her chosen profession.

“I know the quality of the people who have graduated from that college, so to be selected as the honoree this year is really humbling,” Nolan said, who picked up the award at the CAHNRS Honors at the university March 28.

She participated in Washington State University’s honors program while a student there and credits it with laying her liberal arts foundation.

“It allowed me to couple my love of the sciences with my undergraduate degree, so those two things probably unintentionally set my career path into liberal arts and primarily looking at working with students and helping grow the next generation of scientists, doctors, dentists and science educators,” she said.

At Shepherd Nolan likes her work helping faculty and students. In addition, she said she likes helping the university’s executive team and fellow deans to promote the growth and help develop Shepherd’s reputation.

“As a dean I can help in both directions,” she said. “Working with the faculty to increase the number of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) graduates and then helping Shepherd to really have solid programs in the sciences that can be counted on to be what is expected at a strong, premier liberal arts university. I see it as a great time to be at Shepherd.”

Nolan said there are many aspects to being a good leader, mainly to support and encourage others to think outside the box and push the envelope, and to learn from their mistakes.

“I think that’s probably the greatest thing a leader can do because that empowers the people they are working with,” she said.

Dr. Christoper Ames, vice president of academic affairs at Shepherd, said, “Dean Colleen Nolan has accomplished a great deal at Shepherd University to advance the cause of STEM education and create opportunities for women in the sciences. I’m pleased but hardly surprised that her alma mater would single her out for such an impressive honor.”

Nolan earned her bachelor of science in animal science in 1982 from Washington State University. She completed her master of science at the University of Idaho, Ph.D at Texas A&M, and postdoctoral research at the University of Michigan.