Human Environmental Sciences dean plans to retire

Jorgensen is the third dean to announce his retirement this year.

College of Human Environmental Sciences Dean Stephen Jorgensen announced Aug. 21 his retirement after serving in the position since 2001.

Jorgensen’s retirement will take effect on Aug. 31, 2015.

Jorgensen said as MU undergoes a variety of changes in administration and direction, he believed it was time to let someone else take the reins of the college.

“Given (that) I am of retirement age, I felt it was a good time to step down,” he said. “Rather than inheriting the changes that are in store for MU, the new dean will be an integral part of the developments.”

Jorgensen oversaw a variety of accomplishments during his time as dean, including a 160 percent increase in the school’s endowment, growth in student enrollment — from 1,093 in 2001 to more than 1,400 in 2014 — and the renovation of Gwynn Hall, according to a news release.

Out of all of his accomplishments, Jorgensen said the creation of the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders was his proudest one.

“We worked very hard, and it was a teamwork effort across campus to make it a reality," he said.

Jorgensen started his career as an assistant professor at the University of Arizona. He eventually moved on to become a director at the University of Arkansas School of Human Environmental Sciences before coming to MU.

“I always thought great things of this university,” Jorgensen said. “The previous dean was very successful, so it was a good place to come and continue the work she started.”

Jorgensen’s announcement follows two other deans’ retirements this year: School of Journalism Dean Dean Mills will retire on Aug. 31 and College of Engineering Dean James Thompson will step down on Sept. 1.

Interim Provost Ken Dean said once the university begins its search for the new journalism and engineering deans, he will turn his focus to finding Jorgensen’s replacement.

“We will be looking for a strong, dynamic leader with a vision,” Dean said. “We are interested in someone who wants to continue strong research and teaching efforts.”

Jorgensen said he hopes the incoming dean will work hard to build bridges and partnerships across campus.

“I hope whoever my successor is moves the college forward along the lines MU is moving to enhance its stature in the Association of American Universities,” Jorgensen said.

Jorgensen plans to do a lot of traveling that he was unable to do in the past and feed his passion for scuba diving.

“There’s a lot of places I’d like to go,” Jorgensen said. “This will afford me the opportunity to go to faraway places like the South Pacific to scuba dive.”

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