Meet the Deans: Dr. Ellen Schendel recognizes integral, foundational role of the College of Arts and Sciences
New dean to focus on student success, program excellence
BGSU welcomed three new deans to campus this summer. In our Meet the Deans series, we’re introducing you to each dean, the expertise they bring to the University and the impact they’re planning to make at BGSU.
By Laren Kowalczyk '07
Dr. Ellen Schendel grew up surrounded by education professionals. Her parents were teachers and then principals, and her siblings pursued education degrees in college. She was determined to follow a different path.
“I didn’t think teaching was my passion, writing was,” Schendel said.
Schendel enrolled at Birmingham-Southern College in Alabama, intent on becoming a journalist. That is until her junior year when she started tutoring in the writing center and discovered a passion for helping student writers find their authentic voices.
Schendel went on to pursue master’s and doctoral degrees in English with a concentration in rhetoric and composition. She has spent more than two decades as a tenured professor, writing center director and administrator at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) in Allendale, Michigan.
In June, she joined Bowling Green State University as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and said she is thrilled to be serving in a capacity “so squarely at the heart” of public education.
"Dr. Schendel is a proven collaborator and will bring a focus to Bowling Green State University on student success and program excellence," said Joe B. Whitehead Jr., provost and senior vice president for Academic and Student Affairs. "Dr. Schendel will be instrumental in fulfilling the college’s mission to provide the fundamentals of a liberal arts and science education at our University, as well as exploring how our academic programs and interdisciplinary work are integral to addressing the challenges and opportunities of today and tomorrow."
The College of Arts and Sciences is the largest college at the University and host to more than 100 academic programs.
"We’re a set of majors and interdisciplinary programs worthy of deep study in their own right," Schendel said.
Additionally, Schendel noted the integral, foundational role of the College of Arts and Sciences as the place where most undergraduates take their general education courses.
“It’s introducing students to a college education and helping them understand the value of a liberal, broad education," Schendel said.
At GVSU, Schendel held positions as director of the university’s writing center, associate dean in the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies, assistant vice president for academic affairs and, most recently, associate vice president for academic affairs.
She helped launch more than 30 new graduate and undergraduate degree programs, certificates and badges and developed an annual academic program review process to assess programmatic health.
While she enjoyed the work and impact of each of those positions, Schendel said she’s looking forward to collaborating more closely with faculty, staff and students to drive student success and program excellence. She plans to accomplish that by supporting faculty research, scholarly and creative activity and fostering meaningful staff development.
“One of the best parts of higher education is that we operate through shared governance,” Schendel said. “It’s not a leader just making decisions, but rather facilitating conversations and coming to a consensus understanding of our direction. I really respect that about higher education. It’s also been the history of the College of Arts and Sciences at BGSU, so I’m really excited to be at a place that has valued that kind of collaboration all along.”
Having spent her career at a public university, Schendel is passionate about sharing the value public education has on society and its broader impact on communities and organizations.
“If you think about any problem or opportunity out there, whether that’s launching a new program for social justice or solving climate change, all of these issues rely on the social sciences, the sciences, humanities and fine arts,” she said. “The United States relies on public institutions like Bowling Green State University to provide a citizenry that can do that critical work in our society.”
Updated: 08/12/2022 09:25AM