By Sara Blair Matthews
Assistant News Editor
Elaine Hopkins has decided to return to the faculty after serving as the University’s Associate Dean for 13 years.
Hopkins will return to the classroom in the fall of 2013 after a year-long sabbatical. Prior to becoming dean, Hopkins worked for 19 years as a professor of French, 14 years as director of the French program, and a term as the coordinator of the Common Learning Agenda.
“After becoming associate dean, I continued to see myself a teacher, even when I am working with students one-on-one in my office. I realized that most of the things I would like to do before I retire involve teaching: call it my Bucknell bucket list,” Hopkins said. “For instance, I would like to teach a Foundation Seminar in a Res College, teach an Integrated Perspectives (IP) course, and be the faculty in residence in the Bucknell en France program again.”
When asked what her favorite experience was while serving as dean, Hopkins said, “My very favorite experience has been mentoring two Posses (so far) from Washington, D.C. I believe deeply in the mission of the Posse Foundation, and I am a devoted cheerleader on campus for the program.”
“Dean Hopkins has been an essential dean by supporting students with any and all issues, and providing leadership to the rest of the campus on how to best integrate the academic side of student life with the personal side of student life. She has been a great champion for more learning support on campus,” said Dean of Arts and Sciences George C. Shields. “She is a great listener, is empathetic, and cares about students on an individual level.”
Shields said the College of Arts and Sciences has changed since Hopkins became dean. Now, many more students come to campus with personal difficulties that need to be navigated between Student Affairs and Academic Affairs.
“[Since I arrived on campus in 1980,] the student body [has become much more diverse] in every way, which is a great improvement both in terms of the exchange of ideas and in providing students the opportunity to broaden their personal horizons and actually get to know people who are different from them,” Hopkins said.
Hopkins plans to create some new courses and increase her familiarity with new technology during her year-long sabbatical.
“Faculty are now using technologies in the classroom that I have not used before. So I intend to read a lot, attend lots of workshops at the Teaching [and] Learning Center and L&IT, and travel to France and Quebec,” Shields said. “It is always hard to fill the shoes of any hardworking dean who has a vast repertoire of historical knowledge about the University and a high skill set. She has set a high standard!”