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Dr. Hawkins: You leave Radford, but you remain a Highlander

By Jeremy Moser | jmoser9@radford.edu

Dean Hawkins was eager to be interviewed. Inside her large and well-furnished office adorned with her name, she quipped about how being the dean of a college has its perks. After she offered her guest something to drink, she talked for nearly an hour.

The things she spoke about varied wildly, but they all primarily circled the kind of work she has done. She told some stories and had a few laughs. She is a delightful person with much history.

Dr. Katherine Hawkins has been the dean of the College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences for nearly seven years now. In that time, in addition to managing the entire college, she has continued teaching communications.

Dr. Hawkins, as it seems, is very passionate about her work and her college; her car even has a license plate with “RUCHBS” printed on it. However, after this semester she is moving to a bigger and better job at Old Dominion University.

She was born in Boston, but she has lived and studied in several places all over the country. After completing her bachelors in both psychology and sociology at the University of Virginia, she decided to pursue a masters and Ph.D. in communications at the University of Texas.

She described communications as sort of the next logical step after psychology and sociology. The only way a society can exist is through forms of communication, and the human psyche influences every bit of that communication. Her knowledge of each of these fields allowed her to do the kind of research and work that helps young people get better starts at life.

While also working at Wichita State University, she helped place millions of dollars in the hands of less fortunate students through the Kansas Health Foundation. She also led a campaign to help educate teenagers on how cigarettes are subliminally advertised to them in stealthy ways.

Here at Radford, she led a massive move into the brand-new CHBS building. She was intimately involved in every part of the planning and inhabiting the most massive class building on campus just in time for the 2016-2017 school year.

The move involved around 180 faculty members and several graduate students, and with the help of some volunteers as well as some beautiful weather, the transition went, as she put it, “as smoothly as one could have hoped.”

It took some severe collaboration from everyone to pull it off. As Dr. Hawkins said herself, “It was a daunting challenge, but we did what we always do in CHBS. We figured out a way to make it work!”

Her work is her priority, but she lives an active lifestyle in her free time. She has a pet dog she likes to go on hikes with, and she loves to kayak in the New River.

Dr. Hawkins’s tenure at Radford is ending. She has found a position at Old Dominion University in Norfolk as vice provost for faculty affairs and strategic initiatives. She will continue to do the same kind of work she is done here at Radford, only now she will be working with an entire university instead of just one college.

Of course, Dr. Katherine Hawkins will miss Radford quite a bit. She said, “You leave Radford, but you take a piece of it with you. You remain a Highlander.”

Photo Credit: (Radford University-Dr. Katherine Hawkins pictured on the left)