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Augustana's Dean Evelyn Campbell Retires

Augustana College
Augustana College

After 27-years, the dean of students at Augustana College, Evelyn Campbell, will retire. 

Mike Poletto reports.

Evelyn Campbell says as a college student in Ohio, she didn't know what she wanted to do. In fact, she took many courses to learn about various fields.

"I'm one of those students that started out in Chemistry and then didn't like spending all my afternoons in the labe. So I found another major, which happened to be economics. So I ended up majoring in economics and ended up working in a finance company. So I learned some budgeting skills and financial management skills, but it really didn't fulfill me as a person and that's when I began to think about what did I like and what is my passion in life."

That passion lead Campbell to start coaching at Knox College in Galesburg. For six years, she served as the head coach of women's volleyball, basketball, and softball.

Campbell says the dean of students at Knox College took her under his wing.

"Basically being a coach is like being a dean of students, but being a dean of students, you have much more responsibility and much broader perspective and ability to impact the institution. But you're doing it for the students and on behalf of of the students. That really captured my attention.

Campbell then went back to school to earn her doctorate degree from Ohio State University. And in 1991, Augustana hired her as dean. 

As much as she loves her job, Campbell says it's tough.

"I think on a daily bases, I do have to make difficult decisions and have to handle difficult happenings on campus. When a student has a disciplinary issue, or when a student is very ill and we have to decide whether or not they can continue in their classes or need to go home, or if their is a death of a student. Those are very difficult and challenging situations to deal with for both the student and family members. So I try to do the best I can to be the caring presence of the college in those situations."

Campbell also says that one of the major changes in her time at Augustana is the use of technology in her department.
"When I came, we didn't have cellphones, you had one computer on your desk and the job was much more of an 8-5 job. Now, really it is a 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week job because of social media, cellphones, and expectations. Now students and families can get information at a snap of a finger, so we all have to be more available, accessible, and responsive. And that's been a significant change."

After Campbell helps train a new dean of students at Augustana, she plans to spend time with her parents and volunteer in the Quad Cities.