Dean Gillespie announces Professor Buchanan’s plans

An Announcement From the Dean of the College

Professor Buchanan

Dear Wake Forest faculty and staff,

Christy Buchanan will step down as Senior Associate Dean for Academic Advising and return to her position as Professor of Psychology, effective July 1, 2019. Please join me in congratulating Christy on her remarkable six years of supporting our faculty and advocating for our students as Senior Associate Dean and head of the Office of Academic Advising (OAA).

Christy has shown exemplary leadership since being appointed in 2012 to oversee OAA only three years after it opened. During her tenure, she has stressed the importance of advising the “whole student” to ensure our students grow as thoughtful, community-minded individuals while continuing to succeed in the classroom.

Since joining the Department of Psychology in 1992, Christy has championed the need for a strong first-year experience to help incoming students transition to college life at Wake Forest. She has led a two-year piloted collaboration between academic and campus life units across the university to create a first-year elective course entitled FYE 101 that aims to strengthen the academic success, wellbeing, and cultural competence of new students.

Surveys have shown that Wake Forest students who complete FYE 101 demonstrate significantly higher growth in five outcomes: intrinsic motivation for learning, engaged learning, academic determination, diverse citizenship, and an overall “thriving quotient.” Last spring, Christy accepted an Innovative Teaching Award on behalf of the FYE 101 team. She was also asked to join the First-Year Experience Commission that President Nathan O. Hatch formed in 2017.

Christy has been a strong advocate for training students in the theory and practice of deliberation, which enhances civic engagement and results in individuals talking in more productive ways about their differences. Based on her research with Professors Katy Harriger and Jill McMillan, Christy has encouraged the implementation of the deliberative dialogue model across campus, from the critical Campus Climate work of several years ago to the FYE 101 curriculum to the President’s Leadership Council last weekend.

In addition, Christy has worked tirelessly with faculty and staff to provide fun, thought-provoking programming to help freshmen feel welcomed on campus during New Deac Week. More than 500 members of the Class of 2022 registered to participate in Project Wake book discussion groups in August, allowing them to engage in conversations centered around this year’s theme of what it means to live a life of character.

Moreover, Christy has developed with faculty a series of best practices to help students achieve both academic and personal success. Faculty teaching first-year seminars serve as academic advisors to their students, and teams of Faculty Fellows provide guidance and programming in all first-year residences in coordination with the Provost’s Office. Living-Learning Communities have also been created for students housed in the same residences to take first-year seminars and writing courses together.

Christy will continue her research and teach classes on child development and parent-child relationships as part of the Psychology faculty. She will again serve as a lower division advisor, which she has done throughout most of her nearly three decades at Wake Forest. She will also serve as the faculty director for the Southern Cone study abroad program in Santiago, Chile, in Spring 2020.

Our students have benefited enormously from Christy’s vision. She has collaborated with her staff in OAA and our entire faculty to provide incomparable support for all our students. Please join me in thanking Christy for her extraordinary dedication to the Wake Forest community over the past six years. She has made a lasting impact on this institution by pressing us all to embrace new, more effective ways to support and educate the whole student.

A search will begin soon to find a new Associate Dean for Academic Advising to oversee OAA. We will release more information about the search in the near future.


Michele Gillespie

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