GVSU dean appointed Vermont college president

GVL / Courtesy - GVSU.edu
Elaine Collins, dean of the College of Education, leaves GVSU.

GVL / Courtesy – GVSU.edu Elaine Collins, dean of the College of Education, leaves GVSU.

Elaine Collins, Grand Valley State University College of Education dean, will serve as the president of Johnson State College in Vermont. The new position begins June 30, when the current president retires.

GVSU Provost Gayle Davis was a reference on Collins’ application for the new position. Davis said Collins has accomplished many things during her 12 years as dean.

“She made significant and effective changes to the College of Education, including new initiatives on the theme of social justice, a new organizational plan that better fit the college, many new faculty and staff hires that enhanced the quality of the programs, leadership contributions in both the local and state external communities and more,” Davis said.

Davis appointed John Shinsky, a GVSU education professor, as the interim College of Education dean. Though his position was announced during the winter semester, Davis said it officially starts on July 1.

“The interim dean will be John Shinsky, a long time faculty person and leader in the college who worked with Dean Collins on most of the initiatives she advanced,” Davis said. “I know the college and university will appreciatively support him in the work of the college.”

Shinsky said he hopes to “provide a high quality level of leadership and support that builds upon the exceptional work that has been done in the College of Education for the past number of years.”

As the department chairperson for leadership and learning for 13 years, Shinsky has worked closely with Collins to achieve their goals.

“We have seen an increase in program options and quality, a significant increase in grant monies, state and national accreditation, community collaboration, teacher preparation and educational leaders taking key positions throughout Michigan,” Shinsky said. “In addition, the College of Education has had a major increase in the number of faculty and staff who have received university awards.”

Although he expressed his sadness that Collins is leaving GVSU, Shinsky added that he is “deeply grateful for having the opportunity to work with her for the time we have had together.”

Collins said she has seen many changes at GVSU while acting as the College of Education dean.

“I have watched the college become a pioneer in the area of technology,” she said. “The College of Education at GVSU has always been dynamic, and it is my hope that its faculty will continue to adapt programs to construct seamless connections with school districts and to grow the college’s network of clinical educational outreach partnerships.”

She is eager to take on a new role, but said she will miss her colleagues at GVSU.

“I have personally benefitted from the opportunity to work with outstanding educators that have supported me in a continual process of learning and growing,” Collins said. “My thinking about quality has expanded within and beyond the college and university as a result of my connections with a number of local agencies that are working to build educational capacity in our communities.”