Dr. Ben Cole is lots of issues: a deputy emergency administration director, hearth department lieutenant and assistant town moderator. He’s also a spouse, a father and a hiker. Additional just lately, he turned the dean of the College of Arts, Sciences and Education (SASE) at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU).
Coming from a background of teaching political science and overseeing other courses within the social sciences and schooling disciplines, Cole reflected on his expansion as a leader, SNHU’s plans, the future and far more.
1. Convey to us a little bit about your specialist track record.
I’m a political scientist by instruction, and my very first whole-time instructing placement was as a lecturer in the International Affairs program at UNH, exactly where I had completed my bachelor’s and master’s degrees. I was however wrapping up my dissertation when I acknowledged a publish-doctoral fellowship at the Nelson A. Rockefeller Centre at Dartmouth, where by I aided operate the Policy Exploration Store and taught courses in investigation strategies and U.S. general public plan.
Soon after I concluded my PhD, I took a tenure-keep track of placement as assistant professor of political science and worldwide relations at Simmons College in Boston in Drop 2012 and taught all across the sub-disciplines of political science although I was there. I was tenured and promoted in 2018, became office chair, and then swiftly moved into positions of rising responsibility in faculty administration, serving as a division director for the social sciences and instruction, then associate dean for curriculum and academic systems, which led me to SASE at SNHU!
My community plan diploma set me down a path into utilized features of that educational career, and I have developed a next occupation, or maybe avocation, in municipal support.
Soon after a phrase on the Kensington College Board, I was appointed by a decide to be an interim selectman in Kensington from 2018-19, and I at present provide the town as deputy emergency management director, assistant city moderator (overseeing elections) and as a lieutenant on Kensington’s fireplace office. I immediate a nonprofit corporation that is restoring the town’s Union Meetinghouse, a culturally and architecturally sizeable mid-19th century meetinghouse and church in the center of city.
2. What very first drew you to increased education?
My mother and father didn’t go to college or university soon after superior college but instead married, commenced operating and experienced me and my brothers, so bigger training was not actually on my radar right up until my mom went again to college for a nursing diploma when I was in junior significant.
I recall my mother studying tricky to make her RN and affiliate diploma, and I never keep in mind faculty becoming a concern right after that: I was heading. My mother is actually an inspiration — she went back again to university two much more periods, after to receive her BSN, and earlier this summer time, she graduated with a master’s diploma.
My route inside bigger ed was circuitous, but once I identified joy in first research with a faculty mentor in my junior yr and recognized that persons could get paid to read through, publish and converse politics with young folks, I was hooked, and I under no circumstances left!
3. What elements of your very own instruction have been specifically influential in shaping your expert life in academia?
I uncovered a appreciate for unique investigate and knowledge late in my undergraduate encounter, but that has formed my scholarship and management and carries on to impact my preference for knowledge-driven conclusion-building nowadays.
I have also been blessed with brilliant, caring mentors and advisors all through my life: from the professor in college who informed me to get my act alongside one another and start out earning A’s if I desired to land a graduate fellowship, to graduate college advisors who pushed me to my limits and helped me crack them, and taken care of me as an equivalent, to section chairs and faculty leaders that I carry on to count on as professional mentors.
1 of the factors that attracted me to SNHU was a comparable emphasis on creating and maintaining these sorts of associations and putting our pupils to start with.
4. How do you keep on to understand and evolve as a leader in bigger education and learning?
I’m finding out all the time — from my college, the SASE dean’s workplace workforce, my fellow deans Kyle (Viator) and Diego (Nocetti), and from the leaders and mentors I provide.
Whilst I feel my working experience and instruction have well prepared me for the function, it is fairly distinctive from any position I have held just before. As a end result, I’m mastering new matters each and every day. I enjoy that, truly. I imagine it is significant (and humbling) to constantly be undertaking a thing new — to be a rookie.
5. What provides you the finest pleasure in your operate as a dean?
The finest joy in my function is building a constructive distinction for our learners and for our faculty. Far more usually, mainly because they are magnificent, it’s in viewing my team, specifically Affiliate Dean Shawn Powers and Assistant Dean Michael Glaeser, do this. They do the job incredibly tough to make miracles occur each individual day. I’m happy to work with them.
6. What do you experience is distinctive about the school, learners and plans you oversee?
All through my interview, I had the option to go to a activity layout course held in the Inkwell Studio, combining courses from sport programming and sport art plans in an experiential learning environment where by they worked in teams to make a online video video game.
I have in no way noticed college students presented this type of encounter, nor college so gifted at training in such a palms-off, coach-like type, which can take a authentic leap of religion for the faculty member. The classroom natural environment was heat, welcoming and inclusive, and college students were carrying out unbelievable operate.
I have almost never been so amazed by learners, faculty and application, and I proceed to be impressed by what our college and pupils are undertaking listed here at SNHU.
7. What tips do you have for new and recent learners?
I would stimulate just about every college student to get involved. Go to workplace hours and get to know your college. Go check out your advisor. Discover your people today by signing up for a club, collaborating in a sport or just hanging out at the e-sporting activities arena during the day.
There is so significantly going on at the SNHU campus, and you’ll get the most of this higher education knowledge by getting engaged. It is one particular of the handful of items in existence exactly where a dependable way to make prosperity — of knowledge, joy, companionship — is to utterly bankrupt your self in supplying.
8. When it will come to the foreseeable future of education and learning, notably for programs in the arts, sciences and schooling, what’s on your head?
What is on my mind… way too a great deal for a brief respond to. We’re in a instant of immediate advancements in technological know-how that vastly outstrip our capability, as a society and as educators, to adapt. COVID upended training and students’ life in profound ways, which we are still knowing and are unlikely to be reversed.
The latest, a lot-publicized developments in AI will have a profound outcome on education and learning, and we are studying about this sort of tools in true-time, with classroom procedures lagging months or several years guiding. We are just now realizing the risks of social media for younger men and women, and the probable for its utility in a classroom environment.
There is a tendency to default to a posture of dread and stress, but I see a excellent deal of hope and option as very well, specially for plans in SASE. In addition (to) the intrinsic positive aspects of finding out art background or philosophy, modern society desires students qualified in people fields a lot more than at any time to enable us realize and reply to these alterations.
We have to have graphic layout students, communication pupils and instructors to enable us communicate about these sophisticated challenges devoid of driving people to paralyzing despair. We need to have learners properly trained in the social sciences to support us evaluate and assess their impact and suggest coverage answers to mitigate harm. We will need biologists, chemists and environmental experts to assist us come across a way to reverse weather alter and ensure a potential for our terrific-grandchildren.
These are only a several examples, but SASE is central to the upcoming of schooling.
9. Why is education significant to you and the planet at massive?
Education and learning is the solitary finest, most value-successful tool for bettering human lifetime.
10. Past do the job, what’s a little something you’re passionate about or definitely take pleasure in accomplishing?
Household, I guess, is the most essential detail in my daily life. My wife Shannon teaches third grade, my daughter Maia is 15, and my son Wyatt is 13. When I’m not with them, I am really passionate about neighborhood company and expend most of my totally free time doing the job for the city of Kensington, New Hampshire.
My greatest commitment is to the Kensington Fire Rescue Section, where I’m a lieutenant, instruction officer and firefighter/EMT. It’s a good deal of fun, satisfies my adrenaline habit, and I get the honor of top an amazing team of common persons who give their time and strength to support their neighbors in times of disaster. Each call is a new challenge, and I’m often finding out some thing new.
I also serve as assistant town moderator (serving to lead/system our elections and town conferences) as well as deputy unexpected emergency administration director (mainly conducting drills linked to the nuclear ability plant in Seabrook), and immediate a nonprofit focused to restoring the Union Meetinghouse, an architecturally considerable meetinghouse and church in the Kensington town middle. I served Kensington on the faculty board and board of selectmen in the previous.
When I’m not accomplishing group stuff, I’m with my family on our farm, participating in online video video games with my kids or climbing with my higher college ideal friend Andy.
On the internet. On campus. Pick your program from 200+ SNHU levels that can consider you exactly where you want to go.
Rebecca LeBoeuf Blanchette ’18 ’22G is a writer at Southern New Hampshire University. Link with her on LinkedIn.