Dr. Adele Newson-Horst became Dean of the College of Arts and Letters (COAL) at Missouri State University in July of 2006. Last week she announced her resignation from the position. KSMU's Randy Stewart talked with her about her background and education.
Dr. Adele Newson-Horst has been dean of the College of Arts and Letters here at Missouri State University since July 1st of 2006. Citing health and personal reasons, she announced last week she would resign from that post as of May 30th of this year in order to devote more time to teaching and other duties at the University. I talked to her for this "Sense of Community" profile a week or so before the announcement was made.
DR.NEWSON-HORST: I was born in Wayne, Michigan and I grew up in Michigan... and I attended an all-girl Catholic school. Now, one of the things about a Catholic education is, there's a deep sense of commitment to service-learning projects. There's also emphasis on international travel. I think the first place I went internationally was Spain, with my mother, when I was still in high school And I have lived in West Africa; I've lived in London; I know the Caribbean very well.
RANDY: So you've been all over the world. Now, you initially got your Bachelor's degree at Spellman College in Georgia--
DR.NEWSON-HORST: And it happens to be an all-girl school as well! So (she laughs) I didn't have a real coed education until I started my Master's.
RANDY: You went back to Michigan for your Master's and Doctorate--back home to Eastern Michigan for a Master's degree, and then you got your Doctorate in American Literature at Michigan State.
DR.NEWSON-HORST: Correct. At Spellman I was an English, French and biology major!
RANDY: Now, that's an interesting combination--covers arts and sciences.
DR.NEWSON-HORST: Yeah--arts and sciences go together. And I graduated with an English degree--I dropped the others, wanted to get out! (laughs) But it was a very excellent education. So I've always been an avid reader; I inherited that from my mother. My kids are readers. I love language. So I was naturally drawn to English. My Master's is in Language and Composition; my Ph.D., American Lit.
RANDY: All right, let's get you to University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. You made yourself quite a fixture at that campus, and in the community as well, over a period of several years.
DR.NEWSON-HORST: It's a wonderful community. It's a wonderful institution. There are some really fine people at the university.
RANDY: What size school is it, compared to Missouri State?
DR.NEWSON-HORST: This one is 11,000.
RANDY: So it's quite a bit smaller.
DR.NEWSON-HORST: Yes, it is. And the town is much smaller than Springfield. It's a very welcoming place--small town, middle America.
RANDY: Now, what did you do there? It's a long laundry list....
DR.NEWSON-HORST: (laughs) Yeah! I first served as Associate Dean of the College of Letters and Science.
RANDY: So you went from classroom teaching to administration.
DR.NEWSON-HORST: Well, I was a Fullbright Professor in Potchefstroom, South Africa, in the English Department. I spent a year there, and I worked very closely with the Chair of the English Department. And by the way, that's F.W. DeKlerk's alma mater. I worked closely with her (the English Dept. chair), and I thought, "Gee, I can do this." And that's when I began to have an interest in administration.
RANDY: So you went to Oshkosh first as the Associate Dean of the College of Letters and Science, and you eventually became Special Project Director to the Provost of the university. What did that involve?
DR.NEWSON-HORST: Things such as scholarship opportunities... it was a whole laundry list of things. Special projects.
RANDY: Did you continue teaching?
DR.NEWSON-HORST: Yeah, I taught a class a semester. Yeah.
RANDY: You were also heavily involved in the community, as president of the Rotary Club.
DR.NEWSON-HORST: Yeah, that was great. That was a ride! (chuckles) It was a great experience.
RANDY: We should say that one of the first things you did when you came to Springfield was to join the Southeast Rotary Club here.
DR.NEWSON-HORST: That's true.
RANDY: How did you first hear about the (MSU) position?
DR.NEWSON-HORST: A friend mentioned it, and I thought, "Oh, this looks good--Arts and Letters." And I had a campus visit, and I loved it. The College of Arts and Letters includes the Art and Design Department; Communications Department; English Department; Media, Journalism and Film Department; Classical and Modern Languages Department; the Music Department; and Theatre and Dance. And I work with the department heads to effect the mission of the College and of the various departments.
RANDY: This afternoon at 4:30 Dr. Newson-Horst will talk about several events the College of Arts and Letters has coming up this semester... and we'll have an update on her decision to resign as dean and what she'll be doing here at Missouri State starting next fall.