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Wanda Hankins Dean, vice provost for enrollment and degree management, announces retirement

December 15, 2016

Wanda Hankins Dean
Wanda Hankins Dean

Wanda Hankins Dean, vice provost for enrollment and degree management at Virginia Tech, will retire from her position effective May 2017.

Dean has served the university for 37 years, 26 of those years as university registrar. In 2012, she became Virginia Tech’s first vice provost of enrollment and degree management, overseeing six units including the Office of University Registrar, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, the Office of University Scholarships and Financial Aid, the Office of Summer and Winter Sessions, the Office of Research and Analysis, and the Office of Degree Management.

As vice provost, Dean built a framework for strategic enrollment planning in support of the university’s strategic goals, initiated new recruiting and scholarship utilization efforts, created a framework for degree management and planning, and launched new academic programs in special sessions.

“I greatly appreciate Wanda’s leadership and dedication over the course of her distinguished career,” said Virginia Tech President Tim Sands. “She is held in high regard by her associates inside and outside the university community. Her experience and skill enabled us to make significant advancements in application, retention, and graduation rates, and as a result, Virginia Tech is well positioned to move our global land-grant vision forward.”

“From her time as university registrar to her most recent position as vice provost, Wanda’s deep knowledge and understanding of the university allowed her to form effective and collaborative teams,” said Executive Vice President and Provost Thanassis Rikakis. “Streamlined policies, increased financial aid and scholarships, innovative majors and strategic curricula changes have all contributed to an environment that shaped our Beyond Boundaries Vision.”

Dean began her career at Virginia Tech in the Office of the University Registrar in 1980. In 1987, she became university registrar, a position she would hold the next 26 years. Dean is tied with Clarice Slusher (1937 to 1963) as the longest serving university registrar at Virginia Tech. Only 11 individuals have held the title of university registrar since the position was created in 1902.

From 1986 to 1988, Dean served as a member of the university curriculum committee and systems teams leading the university’s transition from the quarter system to the semester system. This transition required collaboration with academic and administrative units to rewrite curricula and transform the student record system.

As the university’s first vice provost for enrollment and degree management, Dean unified several units on campus to create a framework for collaboration and to fully embrace a common mission to attract, enroll, and graduate a highly qualified, talented, and diverse student body, all the while increasing access and affordability.

“In the 15 years that I’ve had the privilege to work with Wanda, I can sincerely attest to the fact that facilitating access to higher education is one of her priorities,” said Karen Eley Sanders, associate vice provost for college access and chief diversity officer for the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. “She has always supported initiatives related to the needs of our underrepresented populations at the university, as well as programs designed to show historically underserved students a pathway to a college education.”

Dean initiated and supported university-sponsored pipeline programs that help prepare elementary and middle school students for college and place them on a path to succeed in higher education.

In 2015 she successfully petitioned to bring to Virginia Tech the Hispanic College Institute, a three-day program that invites Hispanic high school sophomores and juniors in Virginia to campus to attend workshops and seminars on college admissions, financial aid, and the college search process. This program will be hosted by Virginia Tech through 2017.

In addition, Dean launched Summer Academy in 2012, a program designed to help new students transition to the university while earning college credit, and a new special academic session between fall and spring known as Winter Session, which began in 2014 and now helps current and visiting students stay on track for graduation.

Dean also played a significant role in establishing the Office for Veterans Services that not only facilitates access to Virginia Tech, but also contributes to the academic success for veterans and military students.

Because the certification of veteran affairs educational benefits was formerly housed in the Office of the University Registrar, Dean recognized the growing number of veterans pursuing higher education in 2007 and alerted the university’s Student Success Center. This resulted in expanded support for veterans and the establishment of the Office for Veterans Services in 2012.

“My career has been an exciting journey, and I know there are many exciting days ahead for Virginia Tech. If I had any role in past success, it is because I stood shoulder to shoulder with so many of my colleagues who, like me, embody the spirit of Ut Prosim (That I May Serve),” Dean said.

“From the efforts of staff in facilities who assure classrooms are ready for instruction, to the leaders and staff in the many departments and colleges who are always ready to innovate and collaborate on delivering outstanding academic experiences, to the unrelenting efforts of the Student and Academic Application Systems team who are dedicated to assuring systems support in delivery of the academic mission, and to the dedicated colleagues in enrollment management who work long hours and many weekends . . . this is how we have been able to recruit, enroll, retain, and graduate an outstanding cohort of high achieving Hokies.”

A Hokie at heart, Dean received her bachelor’s degree in English in 1979 and a master’s degree in student personnel services in 1985 from Virginia Tech.

The Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost will launch a national search for the next vice provost for enrollment management in January. Updates on this search process will be posted to Virginia Tech News.

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