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Dennis Sterner to step down as dean of Whitworth’s School of Education

November 27, 2012

After more than two decades of service to the university, Dennis Sterner, Whitworth’s founding dean of the School of Education, announced Nov. 26 that he will step down from his position on June 30, 2013. After a brief sabbatical, he will resume his original role at Whitworth as a professor on the School of Education faculty.

“Bolstered by a flawless accreditation review last year by both the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education and the Washington Professional Educator Standards Board, and following the School of Education’s largest single donation, to fund the $3 million Margo Long Endowed Chair in Gifted Education, Dennis Sterner’s legacy of leadership has created wonderful opportunities for the school going forward,” says Whitworth President Beck A. Taylor. “Dennis will be quick to give the credit to others for the school’s increasing reputation as one of the region’s best education programs, but his leadership since becoming the school’s founding dean in 1991 has been instrumental in preparing the school for its current success as well as for a bright future.”

Taylor adds, “Dennis and I have spoken on numerous occasions in the past two years about his desire to return to the faculty and to provide important leadership for some of the university’s newest initiatives. We are both confident that this timing serves the interests of the school’s students and programs well. In so many ways, the School of Education has never been stronger.”

Sterner joined the Whitworth faculty in 1988 and became the university’s first dean of the School of Education three years later. His areas of expertise include teacher preparation, learning assessment, science education and educational policy.

In 1998, Sterner was awarded the Washington State Award for Excellence in Teaching Education. He also was separately appointed by Washington governors Gary Locke and Christine Gregoire to the state’s 19-member Professional Educator Standards Board, on which he served from 2000 to 2007, including five years as vice chair.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as the dean of the School of Education since the school was created,” says Sterner. “Many changes in the preparation of educators have occurred during the past 22 years; however, our tradition of developing teachers, counselors and administrators who embody the mind-and-heart qualities of Whitworth has endured, thanks to the outstanding work of our dedicated faculty and staff and the commitment of our students to dedicate their lives to this field.”

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of nearly 3,000 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Barbara Sanders, interim provost, Whitworth University, (509) 777-3755 or

Andrea Idso, interim public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or