CALAIS , Maine — Experience and a familiar face makes for a winning combination for the new Academic Dean at Washington County Community College.
Dr. David Sousa assumed his new duties in August. He has agreed to serve for one year.
Sousa was hired to work closely with newly appointed President Joseph Cassidy, who also brings years of experience to Washington County.
From 2003 to 2009, Sousa was a WCCC education instructor and department chairman. He also served as the distance education coordinator for one year during that period. “I started the education program here,” he said. At one point in his career, he also was an adjunct instructor and program coordinator at the college.
From 1984 until 2003, he was WCCC’s dean of students.
He received his Doctor of Philosophy in educational leadership in 2003 from the University of Nevada and his Master’s Degree in Educational Administration from Plymouth State College in Plymouth, N.H. He also has a Bachelor of Science Degree from Fitchburg State College in Massachusetts. He is a Vietnam Veteran.
Sousa is currently on the board of directors for the Eastern Area Agency. He also has been on the board of directors for Child and Family Opportunities Inc. and the Downeast Resource Development Council, just to name a few of his community endeavors.
He retired from WCCC in 2009, and planned to focus on some of his favorite hobbies including woodworking. During his brief retirement, he wrote an article for a woodworking magazine. “So I did a bit of writing,” he said. “Which I’ve always wanted do”
Although retired, Sousa still participated in college activities and each year showed up for the annual Polar Bear Dip. Sousa, who towers above most people, could be seen in his funky outfit ready to join others in taking the plunge into the icy waters of Passamaquoddy Bay to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House in Bangor.
Although he was enjoying retirement, it was interrupted earlier this year when the college called and invited him to meet with the new president. Sousa, who has worked with Cassidy over the years, said he has nothing but respect for the man and agreed to take the job for one year. “It seemed like a really good fit,” he said. “Joe and I work together well and if I could help him out, great.”
Cassidy said he was pleased to have Sousa onboard as the new academic dean. “He is a consummate professional, an outstanding educator and he will lend a steady hand as the college moves forward,” he said.
Sousa’s duties will include working directly with the faculty and overseeing the academic program. “I also will handle accreditation. We have a five-year status report due,” he said. In addition, he also will oversee the college’s library and academic support services and will be responsible for the curriculum and any changes that are needed. “It’s a big job,” he said with a smile.
But Sousa said he was pleased to lend support to the college and President Cassidy. “In my past work, my job involved close work with students, but now I will be focused on the bigger picture. But I have an understanding of the student population. I have an understanding of the needs of the county and I can slide right into the job,” he said. Sousa reflected a moment and then said he had turned down the same job 25-years ago. “I just wasn’t ready back then,” he said.
The new academic dean said he is focused on the future. “I hope to leave the college stronger than I found it. We have some new programs that we are looking at and one of my strengths is program development,” he said. “I want to provide a real support system for the faculty because they have been missing that with the absence of an academic dean for over a year. I want to see President Cassidy get off to the strongest start that is possible and anything I can do to support his efforts I want to do. It is a pleasure to be back.”