Dr. James Jeffery, Dean of the School of Education, is retiring after a 42-year career in Adventist education, 16 years of which were spent at Andrews University. Jeffery came to Andrews in 1999 from Canadian University College in Lacombe, Alberta, where he had been Dean of Professional Studies and Chair of the Education Department. He taught in the Graduate K-12 Educational Leadership program for three years before becoming Dean, a position which he has held for 13 years, making him the longest-serving dean in the history of the School of Education.
Jeffery has led the School of Education through two NCATE accreditation visits, in 2004 and 2011. “The last accreditation visit was especially meaningful,” he says, “because the accrediting team…wrote in their findings that they could not find any areas for improvement. This only happens to about 10% of the 1,700 colleges and universities that are accredited by NCATE.” In the last six years, Jeffery also had the opportunity to serve on the Board of Examiners for NCATE, visiting colleges and universities across the United States.
“Some of my best memories,” Jeffery says, “have been working with staff and faculty who are professionals and extremely talented.” He has been thrilled to work in “a strong and respected academic program,” one that – for four years straight – ranked as the top teacher preparation program in the state of Michigan.
“Dr. Jeffery has been a good leader,” says Dr. Annabelle Lopez, a professor in the School of Education. “He gives us the freedom to explore what would work to get results.” She recalls how Dr. Jeffery always took coworkers’ ideas seriously and spent time with them individually to help them realize their goals.
Jeffery says that more than anything, his experience at Andrews has taught him to be patient and slow to judge. “God is in control,” he says, “and I should not run ahead of his leading.”
While he will miss spending time with his coworkers and innovating new ways for School of Education to improve, Jeffery is excited for his retirement plans. He and his wife plan to spend their summer at a cottage in Prince Edward Island, Canada, and their winters visiting their sons, daughters-in-law, and grandchildren in Alberta, Tennessee, and California. More immediately, Jeffery is looking forward to sailing his 35-foot sailboat down the St. Lawrence River to Eastern Canada this August. “This has been a dream for a long time,” he says, “and now I finally have the time to do it.”
Dr. Robson Marinho, who has been chair of the Department of Leadership for several years, will be the new Dean of the School of Education.
-adapted from Andrews Agenda