Juntunen lays out fresh vision as dean of Education College

Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor of Counseling Psychology and Community Services to serve appointment through the summer of 2018

Cindy Juntunen

Cindy Juntunen, Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor of Counseling Psychology and Community Services, has led the CEHD as interim dean since last February. She officially began her new role as full dean of the College on Monday, Jan. 2, according to the UND Provost. Photo by Shawna Schill.

Cindy Juntunen, Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor of Counseling Psychology and Community Services, is bringing her lengthy experience as an educator, researcher and administrator to her new role as dean of UND’s College of Education and Human Development (CEHD).

Juntunen has led the CEHD as interim dean since last February, and officially began her new role on Monday, Jan. 2. A graduate of UND, she holds a Ph.D. in counseling psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and has earned a wealth of accolades and recognitions for her nationally acclaimed work in counseling psychology. Juntunen began teaching at UND in 1994.

She will serve in her appointment as CEHD dean through the summer of 2018.

“Dean Juntunen’s career is underscored by a deep commitment to the students of the University of North Dakota and the College of Education and Human Development,” said Thomas DiLorenzo, UND provost and vice president for academic affairs. “She has a profound appreciation for the challenges facing our region, our state and our nation as we look to inform and instruct our next generation of educators. I am so pleased that she has accepted this position. In her multiple roles as teacher, researcher and associate dean for research and graduate education, Cindy has worked tirelessly to ensure that UND’s education graduates are knowledgeable and skilled in cutting-edge educational practices. As dean, she will continue to work closely with her faculty to bring forth and implement new research ideas that will strengthen the college’s already stellar reputation as a center for educational innovation.”

Two clusters

Juntunen recently reflected on her new appointment, her leadership style and where she wants to see the CEHD’s focus. With the largest number of graduate and Ph.D. students of any college at UND, Juntunen recognizes that innovative research is a key component of the CEHD’s success. She looks to help faculty boost external research funding, particularly for doctoral programs, by identifying and bringing together new interdisciplinary groups of faculty and matching the strengths of those groups with research funding opportunities.

She and her faculty have already identified two research clusters to organize those efforts. The first is a careful examination of the educational pipeline, from pre-kindergarten through graduate school. Juntunen is focused on ensuring that the CEHD prepares students and graduates to teach and counsel a new generation of pre-K/K-12 students.

“We need to train individuals to be successful with highly diverse populations, and we need to incorporate innovative teaching techniques that fully engage the pre-K/K-12 pipeline and adult learners,” Juntunen said.

The integration of health and education in the K-12 public education system is a second key research opportunity for units of the CEHD and an important way to substantively impact the quality of education in North Dakota.

“We know a lot about physical and mental health and how to prevent problems,” she said. “We also recognize that there is a stigma associated with those seeking help. If we can impact students, teachers, staff and families by providing effective services in the public school system, we can make a big difference, particularly for those students who live in remote locations, far from mental health professionals.

“We already have educators, counselors and human performance specialists working together on this challenge; many of them are our own high-quality, high-achieving UND alumni. By integrating education, health and wellness into our programs, we can prepare our graduates with a unique understanding of rural education in North Dakota. And it isn’t just North Dakota that will benefit from this integrated approach to health and education. It is the entire country.”

Building blocks

Juntunen’s goals and vision for her college are shaped in part through her accreditation work. Perspectives gained through examination of successful programs at other universities assure her that the CEHD is poised to have a real impact within the state and beyond.

“One of the things I’ve intentionally brought to the table is that we should feel just as confident as any of our peer universities about what we have to offer here,” Juntunen said. “I’ve compared our college to other colleges and I can tell where we are already meeting and exceeding. We’ve also identified a few areas where we clearly need to grow. We have the building blocks to be really outstanding, and it feels good to be able to acknowledge this and to be working on what’s next.”

Juntunen was given UND’s highest faculty award in 2015 when she was named a Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor. Juntunen also has served as the CEHD’s associate dean for research and graduate education and as chair of the Department of Counseling Psychology. She joined UND in 1994.

On her leadership style, Juntunen states: “I believe strongly in matching strengths with need and providing an environment where people are maximizing their work satisfaction. As a vocational psychologist, my research is all about what makes people successful at their work, and what helps them enjoy their work. This is what I care about as a scholar, and this is what I care about for my college. How I ensure everyone is able to contribute in the areas in which they are passionate is very important to me.”

By Margot McGimpsey, UND Division of Academic Affairs