BY AVNEET GREWAL
Dean Berger has been Augustana’s dean for eight years, beginning his time here in 2011. He remembers his first semester here as exciting and daunting, saying that he “quickly fell in love with Augustana.” Winter 2019 will be his last semester here as he will be retiring at the end of this academic year.
When asked how he feels about that, he had a bittersweet reply, saying, “On, the one hand I’m looking forward to an admin leave and subsequent retirement, with the new freedoms that will come, including opportunities to spend time with our three grandchildren. On the other hand, since age 18 I’ve spent my entire life on university campuses. I’ll likely feel a bit lost and disoriented for a while.”
During his few months left as dean, Berger spoke of the busyness there will be as he completes what he has left to do for this school. Among them, he listed his tasks as a “number of important things—curriculum reforms; a plan for infrastructure investments in residence halls; the redesign of C-167; equity, diversity, inclusiveness initiatives; preparations for a new university budget model; etc. So I won’t lack for things to do.”
As to what “handing over the reins” will look like, the deans reply was hopeful and optimistic, yet a little anxious, saying, “I honestly don’t know. In the past, when I’ve handed over the reins I’ve been headed to a new job. Not this time.”
While this transitional phase may not be the same as the previous ones, Berger is looking forward to working with Augustana’s new dean, Dr. Demetres Tryphonopoulos, on the transition.
“We’ve already exchanged some emails and my executive assistants, Mary-Anne and Kim, are already working on plans to get us together,” he said. The dean also mentioned what the new dean’s schedule may look like, saying, “Dr. Tryphonopolous will inherit many things to work on — for example, ongoing work on the curriculum and infrastructure projects, an ambitious capital campaign for Augustana, enrolment management challenges, etc. I don’t think he’ll be bored.”
Finally, when the dean was asked if he was ready to retire, and what his plans were for when he did, he excitedly replied, “My plans are to undertake some writing projects, spend time with children and grandchildren, and take advantage of the flexibility retirement offers to do more wide-ranging reading, bicycling, kayaking, hiking, fishing, etc. Becky (his wife) and I are still trying to figure out where we’ll be living. We now have dual citizenship (Canada and U.S.) — and we’re crazy enough to be considering bi-coastal lives, with most of the year in British Columbia but several months in Maine.”
Photo credit to: Augustana Campus