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April 8, 2010
Updated June 10, 2010
MARYVILLE, Mo. - Dr. Max Ruhl, who came to Northwest Missouri State in 1987 as an associate professor of educational leadership and has served the last 13 years as dean of the College of Education and Human Services, has announced his retirement after 35 years in education.
Ruhl will retire, effective July 1. Provost Dr. Doug Dunham will be consulting with President John Jasinski and faculty in the College of Education and Human Services to determine the process for filling Ruhl's position. Dr. Joyce Piveral, who serves as associate professor of educational leadership, has been appointed interim dean.
In a letter to College of Education and Human Services faculty, Ruhl acknowledged the decision did not come easily for him. He thanked faculty and praised them for the "incredibly effective work" they do.
"I can simply say CEHS faculty, led by an incredible coterie of department chairs, have engaged in the issues of our times and provided leadership," he said. Ruhl added, "As I reflect on the strides Northwest has made over the past 23 years, it has been my privilege to be a part of the family. It is clear to me that the institution's greatest years are yet ahead. Please know you will all be in my thoughts as you move into the future and prepare the best professionals available for the region, state and nation."
Northwest President Dr. John Jasinski said Ruhl's service to the state and his impact on education is "beyond description."
"His innovative nature has brought so many good things to our great institution, and we must thank him for his focus on diversity, multi-cultural education and Building Bridges that is ahead of its time," Jasinski said. "He retires as one of the state's most respected educators and carries himself with unquestioned integrity and grace. We thank Dr. Ruhl for raising Northwest's standard of excellence. We will endeavor to keep his work sustainable."
At Northwest, Ruhl was promoted from associate professor to professor in 1995. He also was chair of the educational leadership department from 1990 until he was named dean in 1997.
Under his leadership, the College of Education and Human Services, its programs and its graduates have claimed numerous awards and recognition. The Horace Mann Laboratory School was cited as Missouri's Exemplary Reading Program by the International Reading Association; Northwest's urban work was cited by Teacher's College, Columbia University, as a "program to watch;" and the College was recognized with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities' 2006 National Christa McAuliffe Award for Excellence in Teacher Education. Professional education graduates during Ruhl's tenure have been selected as Missouri Teacher of the Year, Iowa Superintendent of the Year and American Star of Teaching in Missouri.
As dean, Ruhl was instrumental in helping to establish Northwest's Kansas City Center in Liberty and a graduated education partnership with Missouri Southern State University. He also helped establish international partnerships in Buenos Aires and Tucuman in Argentina, and Seoul, Korea. He oversaw the creation of innovative new graduate openings, such as the English language learners master's program, and he led the acquisition of a four-year federal Transition to Teaching grant to support alternative certification programming. He also led a consortium of the Coordinating Board of Higher Education to develop a statewide cooperative online elementary education master's program.
Throughout his tenure at Northwest, Ruhl has served on numerous University, local, state and national boards. He has given dozens of presentations at national conferences.
Dr. Doug Dunham has worked closely with Ruhl, first as chair of Northwest's psychology, sociology and counseling department and now in his role as provost. Dunham said Ruhl is a visionary who is respected as an educator throughout the state of Missouri.
"He cares deeply about his faculty, his staff, the students and this institution," Dunham said. "He manages with patience, kindness and, when necessary, firmness. He has been a patient mentor, a valued colleague and a great friend, and I will miss working with him."
Ruhl came to Northwest from Neosho Junior High School in Neosho, Mo., where he served as principal, assistant principal, social studies department chair and taught social studies.
Ruhl received his bachelor's in history and political science from College of the Ozarks, in Point Lookout, in 1974. He earned his master's in educational administration in 1975, and an educational specialist degree in 1982, both from the University of Arkansas, in Fayetteville, Ark. He earned his doctorate in educational leadership and policy analysis from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1985.
Ruhl's wife, Lynn, who is Executive Secretary in the University's advancement office, plans to continue her work with the Northwest Foundation. During Dr. Ruhl's retirement, the couple plans to spend more time at their ranch in southwest Missouri and more time with their children.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
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