Scholar Isabelle Cherney named dean of education, social policy

Merrimack College has appointed a nationally renowned scholar as the second dean of the School of Education and Social Policy.

Isabelle D. Cherney, Ph.D., who has taught and published extensively on childhood development, memory, resilience and student engagement, will begin work March 1.

“What drew me first to the college is its mission and values,” said Cherney, a professor of psychology and associate dean at Creighton University. “Its commitment to the Augustinian and Catholic values of service to others, social justice, the pursuit of truth, the student-centered community, the opportunities for students to develop intellectually, spiritually, socially, and ethically, was important to me.

“I was also attracted to the diversity of academic and experiential learning opportunities that are provided to students, from those in the classroom, to those in the community, or those abroad. My heart literally beat faster when I started to read about the degree and service learning opportunities offered across the college,” she said.

Merrimack Provost Carol Glod, Ph.D., announced the appointment to faculty and students. “We are very excited to have Dr. Cherney join us at a time of great momentum and opportunity for the college and the School of Education and Social Policy, which has had a terrific trajectory over the past five years,” Glod said.

The provost also praised the “extraordinary work” of the school’s founding dean, Dan Butin, who stepped back onto the faculty to resume writing, research and teaching.
Cherney, who among other honors was named the Carnegie Foundation Nebraska Professor of the Year, said she was struck by the “incredible dynamism and the people” of the School of Education and Social Policy.

“They are dedicated to their students, academic excellence, diversity, service and experiential learning, and celebrating each other. They want to see everyone succeed. They care for their students, fellow faculty and staff, and are happy to share their passion and talents with others,” she said.

Bringing “passion and enthusiasm” to Merrimack, Cherney said she looks forward to “collaborating with people across the college to increase Merrimack’s reputation as a national leader in innovative pedagogy.”