Wells College Selects New Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs | Education

A new trustee is expected to join Wells College this summer.

Susan Henking will be the new vice president of academic and student affairs at the Aurora-based private college, according to a news release. She will start on July 1 and was chosen after a nationwide search last fall. Henking will succeed Cindy J. Speaker, vice president of academic affairs and dean of the college. The lecturer will depart from Wells at the end of the current academic year.

The press release states that Henking is a religious studies teacher-researcher, whose work centers on cultural understandings of American religion and the theoretical and conceptual relationship of religion to gender and sexuality.

For more than 25 years, Henking taught in the Department of Religious Studies at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and was named Emeritus Professor of Religious Studies in 2015. She has worked there in a variety of other capacities, including several times as as head of the department; acting dean of the faculty from 1998 to 2000) and provost and acting dean of the faculty from 2000 to 2001.

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She was a co-founder of the Hobart and William Smith LGBT Studies program — the first standalone program of its kind in the country — and served as its president for more than a decade, the statement said. Henking had also been an active member of the women’s studies program.

“In 2012, Henking became President and CEO of Shimer College, a small college then located on the South Side of Chicago that became part of North Central College in Naperville in 2017. In 2017, she was named President Emeritus and also received an honorary doctorate in recognition of her service to the institution,” the press release reads. “From 2019 to 2021, she served as Acting Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs and then President Salem Academy and College, one of the oldest women’s colleges in the United States. At Salem, she reinforced that college’s commitment to liberal arts education. while expanding its pre-professional offerings, in particular its institutional strategic shift towards healthcare leadership. »

Henking earned a bachelor’s degree in religion and sociology from Duke University and later earned a master’s degree from the University of Chicago Divinity School. She got her doctorate. in religious and psychological studies to this last instruction. She currently lives in Geneva with her partner, Betty Bayer – an “internationally renowned psychologist and professor of women’s studies” at Hobart and William Smith – and their dog, Bunty, according to the statement.

“Having overseen the academic and student affairs areas at my former institution, I know the importance of an integrative approach to student learning,” Henking said in the statement. “Colleges like Wells are designed to help students imagine possibilities and bring them to life, and that happens both inside and outside the classroom. I look forward to helping Wells College continue its mission of liberal arts education, something that is more important than ever today.”

Wells president Jonathan Gibraltar praised Henking.

“Dr. Henking’s leadership style and career path make him an exemplary choice for Wells College,” Gibralter said in the press release. “As a seasoned faculty member who has held a wide variety of leadership roles, she is well prepared to meet the specific needs of our College and its entire community.”


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