A Day in the Life: Dean of the Ruth S. AmmonCollege of Education and Health Sciences, Xiao-lei Wang,
By Katie Farkas
In this column, The Delphian has been highlighting a different administrator at Adelphi University in each issue so that students get to know them better. We focus on what their administrative position is, their background and how they came to hold their current position.
Xiao-lei Wang, PhD has been the dean of the Ruth S. Ammon College of Education and Health Sciences (CEHS) since July 2019, a position she said focuses mostly on “leadership, management of the college and outreach.”
Building a college that sets the trend in education, health sciences, sports management and communication sciences and disorders professions is a major goal that Wang wants to accomplish with this position along with becoming a college that leads these fields and has a strong reputation. Wang shared her desires for the college to “build a Ruth S. Ammon CEHS common identity, develop unique curricula and programs responding to the changing needs of different fields and galvanize faculty and staff for innovation.”
Wang mentioned the development of a new doctoral program in Learning Sciences. “We are also thinking of designing a doctoral program in Global Higher Education and Students Affairs. These are niche programs. In addition, since I came to Adelphi, I have created Dean's Funds for curriculum innovation, scholarship and grants, which have supported faculty to engage in curriculum innovation, research and grant writing” said Wang.
Before coming to Adelphi, Wang worked at two other universities, Pace University School of Education in New York and Northern State University in South Dakota.
“I went through the ranks from assistant to associate to full professor,” she said. “I also served as department chair, associate dean for academic affairs and acting dean. In addition, I served as an elected official for an international academic association. I also served as a journal co-editor and a peer reviewer.”
Throughout her career, Wang said that one of the biggest problems she had to combat are budget reductions, not just at Adelphi University, but at other institutions she has worked at as well. Generating revenue through creative, entrepreneurial thinking and action has been how Wang was able to work around these issues. For example, she worked with her faculty colleagues to create “international partnerships with China, Ukraine, France, Spain and other locations, providing international credit and non-credit-bearing workshops, and credit and non-credit-bearing programs for teachers and professionals.”
After earning multiple degrees, including a doctorate in educational psychology from the University of Chicago, a master’s of education in early childhood development and education from the Erikson Institute/Loyola University Chicago and a Bachelor of Arts in English and English literature from Nanjing Normal University, Wang said there were many courses that became favorites. But the one that stood out the most was nonverbal communication. She said, “It was and still is impactful because this course helped me to look at human communication with different dimensions.”
Regarding her advice for students, she said, “Building your resume by involving yourself in activities such as volunteer work, student government and making connections are all things that students should take part in while in college. These experiences will help you build an impressive resume and a job with success.”
Wang said that her favorite spot on campus is Harvey Hall, the building in which her office is located because “it has historical memories since it was converted from a dorm.” She also mentioned her appreciation for the campus environment and the variety of plants.
When not working Wang said, “I go on walks and listen to music for fun, and whenever it’s possible, travel.” She likes to listen to mostly classical music, with some of her favorite composers being Chopin and Mozart.
Wang also has two multilingual sons. She said they grew up simultaneously with three first languages including French, Chinese and English. Later, Wang said they also acquired other languages including Spanish, High German, Russian and Italian. “I have been documenting their multilingual development longitudinally and have written books about them and also published my research about them in various academic journals,” she said.