Heller to serve as dean of MSU College of Education

Contact: Andy Henion, University Relations, Office: (517) 355-3294, Cell: (517) 281-6949, Andy.Henion@ur.msu.edu; Nicole Geary, Education, Office: (517) 355-1826, ngeary@msu.edu

Jun 17, 2011

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Donald E. Heller, a noted scholar and an expert on higher education, will serve as the new dean of the College of Education at Michigan State University.

His appointment was approved June 17 by the MSU Board of Trustees. He'll start on Jan. 1, 2012.

Heller is professor of education and senior scientist at Penn State University, where he has served as director of the Center for the Study of Higher Education since 2007. He replaces Carole Ames, who has been dean since 1993 and plans to step down in August. Robert Floden, a University Distinguished Professor and associate dean of research in the College of Education, has agreed to serve as interim dean until Heller arrives.

“We’re excited about the energy and perspective that Don will bring to the College of Education,” said MSU Provost Kim Wilcox. “As incoming dean, he will have the opportunity to build on the strengths of the college and all that Dean Ames has accomplished in the last 18 years. I am also pleased that Bob has agreed to serve as interim dean during this time of transition.”

A researcher focused on issues of higher education policy and economics, Heller has served as a consultant to many university systems and policymaking organizations, and he has testified in federal court cases and in front of Congress and state legislatures. He is particularly interested in issues of college access, choice, and success among low-income and minority students.

Heller previously served as a faculty member in the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education at the University of Michigan. He has a doctorate in higher education and a master’s in administration, planning and social policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

“I am ecstatic about the opportunity to lead the College of Education at Michigan State University,” Heller said. “Its national reputation in a number of areas, along with its presence internationally, attracted me to the position initially. Upon visiting the campus and meeting people in the college, I became even more enthusiastic about working with them and building on the accomplishments of Carole Ames as dean.”

Before his academic career, Heller spent 10 years as an administrator in charge of computer systems at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Heller also will hold a tenured position as professor in the Department of Educational Administration.

MSU’s College of Education is home to an intensive five-year teacher preparation program, several nationally ranked programs of graduate study and a vibrant research community that is committed to making a difference in practice. Its four departments include Teacher Education, Kinesiology, Educational Administration and Counseling, Educational Psychology and Special Education.