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Dr. Agnes Caldwell named Vice President of Academic Affairs at Defiance College

February 8, 2017


Dr. Agnes I. CaldwellDEFIANCE, Ohio - Dr. Agnes I. Caldwell, an academic leader in higher education for 20 years, has been named Vice President of Academic Affairs and Academic Dean at Defiance College. She will begin her new position June 15, 2017. The announcement was made by Dr. Richanne C. Mankey, president.

Dr. Caldwell is currently the Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs at Adrian College, a position she has held since 2009. She succeeds Dr. Timothy Rickabaugh who served as Defiance’s Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs and Academic Dean for two years. He served ably and will continue to support academic initiatives and success at the college.

"We are looking forward to Dr. Caldwell’s energy, ideas, and wisdom," said President Mankey. "She brings a breadth of experience and familiarity with small, private colleges such as Defiance College. Her fresh ideas and a results-based agenda intrigued the campus community during her interview presentation."

Dr. Caldwell remarked that she is "excited to be joining a liberal arts college with a long history rooted in a focus on student success and community engagement."

She added: "The faculty, students, and staff at Defiance College made my choice to join the team an easy one given its mission alignment with my background and interests in faculty development and student success. I look forward to contributing to this fine institution’s next era of growth and success under President Mankey."

Dr. Caldwell graduated magna cum laude from the University of Toledo with a double major in international relations and political science. She continued her studies in sociology, earning a master of arts at UT. Her Ph.D. in sociology from Wayne State University was a study of the religious and social tensions in the parade tradition in Northern Ireland, based on ethnographic research she collected while living in Northern Ireland for two summers.

Dr. Caldwell’s expertise and strength lie in her experience in the liberal arts blended with professional programs, strong faculty development background, and data-driven decision making. Her leadership role developed over several years, having served as a faculty member and department chair, and accreditation coordinator for the college’s self-study process. She then became Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs before assuming the duties of Vice President.

During her tenure at Adrian, she developed and implemented an office of institutional research and assessment, developed and funded a first-generation college student retention program yielding higher retention rates than national averages, created multiple new graduate and undergraduate programs, created eight academic institutes, and led two strategic planning processes.

Dr. Caldwell created and led numerous community partnerships with local public schools, ProMedica Health Systems, Adrian Steel, Michigan International Speedway and the Lenawee County Economic Development Corporation. She was also responsible for the institution receiving numerous grants and gifts to enhance academic programs on campus, including grants from the Dow Foundation, the McGregor Fund, and Stubnitz Foundation.

She has been a presenter at numerous conferences and workshops and has authored academic publications throughout her career. She has won multiple awards as an educator, being recognized at the state and national levels for her K-12 partnership using a multicultural reading program in her sociology academic service learning courses.

She is a member of the American Sociological Association, Midwest Sociological Association, Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, and the Council of Independent Colleges.

Dr. Caldwell and her husband, Timothy Wilson, are the parents of two children, Abigail and Owen.

Defiance College, chartered in 1850, is an independent, liberal arts institution in Northwest Ohio offering more than 40 undergraduate programs of study as well as graduate programs in education and business. Defiance College has received national recognition for its educational experience of service and engagement. The college website is