Knox Names Laura Behling Dean of the College

February 08, 2013

Laura Behling

      Read an interview with Dr. Laura Behling.

Following a nationwide search, Knox College has appointed Dr. Laura Behling as dean of the College and vice president for academic affairs. Dr. Behling will succeed Lawrence B. Breitborde, who will retire from his role as dean, a position he has held since 1995, on June 30, and return to teaching and research.

Dr. Behling currently serves as associate provost for faculty affairs at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana, a position she has held since 2009.

"Dr. Behling's deep commitment to the liberal arts and to the professional development of faculty as teachers and scholars make her the ideal appointment to this position," says Knox College President Teresa L. Amott. "The dean of the College/vice president of academic affairs is a critical position on a college campus, entrusted with securing academic excellence and building a vibrant learning community. We were fortunate to have a highly qualified pool of candidates who appreciated the special character of Knox and of Galesburg, and I look forward to Dr. Behling's arrival this summer with excitement."

"The mission of Knox, its history, and its reputation for academic excellence drew me to the dean of the College position, as did the College's commitment, now more than 175 years in practice, to educate students in an environment that values diverse experiences and perspectives," said Dr. Behling upon her appointment. "In the time I've spent with the faculty, students, and staff of Knox, I have been impressed by the strong sense of community, the creative thinking about how best to move the College forward, and the confident belief in the fundamental values taught through the liberal arts. I'm eager to join this community dedicated to helping smart, intellectually curious students fulfill their potential."

Dr. Behling received her B.A. in English from Kalamazoo College, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in English and American literature from The Claremont Graduate School. She also holds the M.S. in journalism from Boston University's Program for Reporting on Science and Medicine and a certificate from the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard University's Graduate School of Education.

After completing her Ph.D., Dr. Behling started her faculty career at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota, rising through the faculty ranks and serving as chair of the English department from 2006 to 2009. In 2003, she was named a Fulbright Scholar at Palacky University in the Czech Republic. While at Gustavus Adolphus, she also served as co-director and then director of the John S. Kendall Center for Engaged Learning from 2007 to 2009, developing campus-wide programming to support faculty development opportunities, advances in the scholarship of teaching and learning, assessment of student learning outcomes, and undergraduate research for a faculty of more than 200.

In 2009, Dr. Behling was appointed to her current role at Butler University, where she led the successful launch of Butler's new core curriculum, worked to strengthen and cultivate interdisciplinary programs, developed university-wide faculty development opportunities, and provided administrative leadership for internal and external grant programs.

Dr. Behling is the author or editor of four books, including Gross Anatomies: Fictions of the Physical in American Literature (2008) and Reading, Writing, and Research: Undergraduate Students as Scholars in Literary Studies (2010), and has presented and published articles nationally and internationally on topics such as faculty development, undergraduate research and creative work, administrative leadership, medical humanities, and American literature and culture.

"Laura Behling is a dynamic and innovative administrator, whom I expect will ably lead the faculty and College," said Associate Professor of History Konrad Hamilton, who chaired the College's search committee for the new dean. "Dr. Behling has the committee's full and enthusiastic support."

Dr. Behling will assume her role at Knox in July.

Read an interview with Dr. Behling.