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From the "Ouachitonian": Dr. Jeff Root

Jeff RootMay 03, 2021 - Lindsey Hyde

Previously published in the 2020 Ouachitonian yearbook

Dr. Jeff Root never considered going anywhere else but Ouachita for his undergraduate education. Since both his parents worked at Ouachita, he spent much of his time growing up on campus. In 1991, Dr. Root came back to Ouachita as a member of the administrative staff and faculty, and in 2002 he became the dean of the School of Humanities.

When the dean of the Huckabee School of Education left in 2016, Dr. Root became the interim dean of education. He eventually became the permanent dean and the only “double-dean” at Ouachita. Dr. Root worked with the education school previously, since many students majoring in English and Spanish in Humanities also certify to teach.

“I had enjoyed being on the Arkadelphia School Board, so [the School of Education] seemed like a natural place for me to be,” Root said. “It felt like home, even though I had to learn a lot to catch up where the details were concerned. I knew about major issues in education, but had to learn all the catalog details. The opportunity came at a time in my career when a new challenge was welcome,” Root said.

Dr. Root gracefully took on the challenge of managing over twice as many majors, degree plans, and dean’s checks that come with the role of a double-dean.

“I have a strong devotion to what both schools do,” Root said. “I really believe in the mission of what we are doing in both education and humanities.”

Dr. Root has worked with many of the faculty members in the School of Humanities since 1991, some of whom were former students of his.

“It is fulfilling to be able to work with great people over a long period of time,” Dr. Root said. “That’s been true in humanities and is certainly becoming true in education.”

Photo by Justin Trostle

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