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UA Honors dean Patricia MacCorquodale steps down after 23 years

Portrait+of+UA+Honors+Dean+Patricia+MacCorquodale.+MacCorquodale+is+stepping+down+as+dean+after+23+years.
Courtesy of Patricia MacCorquodale

Portrait of UA Honors Dean Patricia MacCorquodale. MacCorquodale is stepping down as dean after 23 years.

Patricia MacCorquodale, the UA Honors College inaugural dean, will step down effective Sept. 12.

MacCorquodale has been involved with the honors college for 23 years. When she first began, the Honors College was not even a college, it was only a program. She was there during the program’s transition to a college in 1999. 

She has made an impact on the college by creating and implementing different initiatives, including the development of an honors interdisciplinary faculty team that teaches challenging and innovative general education courses and the launch of Health and Human Values as an interdisciplinary minor.

Six years ago, MacCorquodale built a student engagement team which expanded student opportunities for internships, study abroad and community service. There is even a study abroad endowment named in MacCorquodale’s honor.  

While it was time for her to turn to other projects, MacCorquodale said in an email interview she will miss the sustained contact she has had with honors students and alumni.

As dean, MacCorquodale said she had the unique opportunity to meet students while they were still in high school and was able to follow their educational journey through UA and beyond. 

Stephanie Choi, an English senior  and an active member of the Honors College, said that MacCorquodale was always accessible and responsive to students and ideas. 

“She’s the dean I see the most out of all my colleges,” Choi said. “When you walk into Slonaker [House], you’ll see her.” 

Choi was a member of the Honors Re-Envisioning Task Force, along with faculty members and another honors student. The purpose of the committee was to restructure the Honors College and what the honors experience could be in the future. 

Andrew Comrie, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, said the search committee is looking for someone who can help define and develop the quintessential honors experience.

He said a new dean should be asking what ways they can make the honors experience and college as cutting edge as possible.

The transition for a new dean starts by selecting an interim dean for this academic year. Comrie said the interim dean will start preparing the ground for the permanent dean by updating the general notion of what an honors education is and what it should be while also engaging in different groups to help develop the ideas of the task force. 

Comrie said in a campus note sent to UA colleagues, that nominations for interim dean and recommendations to serve on the search advisory committee are encouraged. 

“I hope the new dean is a forward thinker and thinks about global issues,” Choi said. “I want them to encourage students to be a student, not only in college, but a student at life and explore opportunities and not just think in one way.”

MacCorquodale said that a new dean will be able to bring a new perspective of what the college can become. 

“I am confident in the future of the college,” MacCorquodale said via email. “There is a strong leadership team responsible for academics, student engagement, [information technology], development, finance and recruitment.”

MacCorquodale intends to teach an honors freshman seminar as part of the Honors Civic Leadership Academy and also in the Gender and Women’s Studies department.

“I look forward to continuing to teach and mentor honors students in my faculty role,” MacCorquodale said.


Follow Elizabeth O’Connell on Twitter.


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