Dean of the College Susan Hasseler gives her impression of her first few weeks at Augustana.
Question: Tell me a little bit about yourself.
Answer: I have lived in a number of places, and have been in academic administration and actually have been a professor in a number of places. I was involved in K-12 education to begin with. Then I went to pursue my doctorate at Northwestern University in Chicago. And from there I began to get involved in higher education. I was on faculty at Michigan State University, but since then I have worked at smaller, private colleges, and that’s a world I very much love.
Q: What’s your favorite part of Augustana so far?
A: I’ve actually been really exploring each building at Augustana. I think the library is beautiful. I think visually it’s lovely, and it feels very welcoming to me. I’ve really enjoyed our gallery. I’ve enjoyed the Center for Western Studies. I also enjoy athletics, so I have fun being in the stadium.
Q: Will you be at the Augie vs. USF football game then?
A: Oh I most certainly will! We are Viking Club members, we have our own seats. Got my little Augie-wear. We have an Augie license plate.
Q: How long have you and your husband lived in Sioux Falls?
A: Since June. Sioux Falls is a great place. There are so many opportunities here. For a city its size, it has everything. One of my goals is to make sure that as a college we’re accessing the benefits of being in this kind of community. Whether that’s speakers or people involved in helping us think through how we do curriculum.
Q: I read online that you’re first female dean at Augustana. What do you feel you can contribute to the college because of this?
A: I feel like the thing that is exciting about that is that I can bring a model of leadership for other women. So whether that’s our female students who are strong leaders or whether it’s our female faculty, it’s very important to have gender diversity in leadership so that people see models. Q: What other kinds of goals have you set for yourself? Any projects yet?
A: I think in the first year in an institution, a lot of what I’m doing is trying to understand and get my head around the really good things that are happening here. So there are things here that are wonderful and that I want to support, and there are things I think we can build and grow. One of those is connecting students with the community, and that can be both the community of Sioux Falls and that can be a broader community.
Q: How do you plan to carry this out?
A: Right now I’m trying to learn what we currently do: around undergraduate research, around service learning, around leadership on campus. Things that really give students hands-on experience. So maybe I shouldn’t say just engaging with the community, but engaging with the practice of your craft. So really engaging with what you want to do both now and in the future. What I want to ensure is that all students have excellent opportunities to engage with the areas they came to study.