By Mireya Martinez
After seven years as Cal Poly Pomona’s Dean of the College of Education & Integrative Studies, M.G. “Peggy” Kelly is retiring in June.
Kelly joined the university in 2008. As dean, she helped the college gain visibility on campus. The college moved to Building 6, quadrupled the size of IGE and offered CPP’s first doctoral program. In addition, an early childhood program is currently in development.
But Kelly considers faculty support the most important part of her job.
“It’s trying to find the means to help them, and then trying to keep the college together as [an] interdisciplinary [and] integrative kind of function,” said Kelly. “We think outside the box.”
To her faculty, this is apparent in the way she advocates for them and the college, as well as her open door policy.
“There were some tears,” said Dennis Quinn, chair of interdisciplinary general education. “We knew that one day she was going to retire, but to actually hear her say it was a little bit scary. I’m hopeful that the next dean that will come in is of the same caliber. But she’s got some big shoes to fill. She’s gonna have a legacy.”
Kelly remembers coming to CPP in the midst of governmental budget cuts and austerity.
“All colleges had almost no operating money,” said Kelly. “But the faculty survived and the staff survived. [We] may not have had very many pencils, but our objective was to serve the students.”
Before coming to CPP, Kelly had worked at Cal State San Marcos for almost 20 years, gaining experience in both the CSU system and program growth. At Cal State San Marcos, Kelly was part of the co-founding faculty, a group that joined the 12 founding faculty members to help fully develop the programs.
When the possibility of working at CPP came up, Kelly was an associate dean at San Marcos ready for a change.
“The timing was right,” said Kelly.
For Marten denBoer, CPP provost and vice president of academic affairs, Kelly seemed like the perfect fit. She had experience in the CSU system and teacher education.
“She was very enthusiastic about the college,” said denBoer. “She understood both the education part and the non-education part.”
Kelly has also served as president and co-director of a project at the International Society for Technology in Education.
Until last summer, Kelly hadn’t considered retirement. The idea of spending more time with her granddaughter and being involved in her education encouraged her to make the decision.
In September, she will be traveling in Scotland as a roadie for a folk band with her cousin.
“When I decided I was going to retire, my bucket list exploded,” said Kelly. “I have more things on my list than I ever thought. So I’m just going to play.”
To the future dean of CEIS, Kelly recommends keeping an open mind.
There’s a lot of wonderful things going on here in the college,” said Kelly. “Lead and facilitate the work of this group, because this group is very dynamic. Very, very dynamic.”
CEIS includes the education, ethnic and women’s studies, interdisciplinary general education and liberal studies departments.
Tom Zasadzinski / Cal Poly Pomona
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