BELLINGHAM – Horacio Walker has been selected as dean of Woodring College of Education at Western Washington University, Provost Brent Carbajal announced today.
Walker, now dean of the College of Education at Universidad Diego Portales in Santiago, Chile, was selected following a national search and will start at Western this summer. He succeeds current Woodring College Dean Francisco Rios, who will transition from dean to serving as a faculty member in the college’s Secondary Education Department.
“We are very excited that Dr. Walker will be joining us as dean of Woodring College of Education. His wide-ranging experience, policy knowledge, commitment to diversity and inclusion, and academic leadership acumen promise to situate the College very advantageously to build on and advance its already considerable strengths,” Carbajal said. “I look forward to joining Woodring faculty, staff, and students in welcoming Dr. Walker to Western this summer.”
Rios, who has been Woodring College dean since 2011, will continue to serve as dean through the 2016-2017 academic year. “I want also to take this opportunity, as he prepares to return to the classroom, to thank Dr. Francisco Ríos for his excellent leadership as dean,” Carbajal said.
Walker received his master’s in Education from the University of Portland, and his doctorate in Education from the University of Toronto.
“I look forward to working with everyone at Woodring College and WWU to support the continuous improvement of student learning, faculty development, and community partnerships. I’m excited with the opportunity to contribute to the college’s vision focused on inclusion and social justice,” Walker said.
Walker joined Universidad Diego Portales in 2008 as the first dean of the College of Education with a mandate from the university president to form a college that would be nationally recognized for its impact on enhancing Chile’s educational system. At that time, the university ran two small programs in early childhood and elementary education with 100 undergraduate students and six tenured faculty.
During his tenure, the college significantly improved existing programs and opened new programs, including new preparation programs in Special Needs and Inclusion, English as a Foreign Language and two post-baccalaureate programs in Social Studies and Spanish Language Arts for Secondary teachers. As a result, undergraduate enrollment increased to 670 students. He also led efforts to create two master’s and two doctoral programs. All those programs are accredited.
In addition, more than 1,500 in-service teachers and school leaders per year participate in several one-year diploma courses and technical assistance programs offered on request to elementary and secondary schools.
To support that growth in programs, Walker oversaw the hiring of 57 tenured/tenure track and adjunct faculty. He also served as director of a grant awarded in 2012 to nine institutions in Chile to improve pre-service teacher preparation.
Other experience includes as director of Teacher Education, President’s Office, and director of the Program for Students with Academic Talent – a program for talented children and youth attending public schools from disadvantaged communities – for the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Valparaíso in Chile. He also served as national director for curriculum at the Ministry of Education of Chile and with the Bernard Van Leer Foundation, an advocacy organization in the Netherlands, to find solutions for healthy child development and education in several countries.
The dean of Woodring College is responsible for providing academic and administrative leadership to an engaged community in four academic departments, three off-campus program sites and several related centers. The dean reports directly to the provost and serves on the university’s Council of Deans.
Western Washington University’s Woodring College of Education is recognized throughout Washington, and beyond, as a leader in the development and implementation of programs that prepare outstanding teachers, from early childhood to adult education; educational administration leaders; human services professionals; and rehabilitation counselors. For more information please see Woodring College.