Dr. Ed Wingenbach vice president and dean of faculty and a professor in the Department of Politics and Government. As Dean, he acts as the chief academic officer of the College and is responsible for the leadership of the faculty and the management and development of the academic program. He also oversees athletics, career and professional development, sustainability efforts and sponsored research.
Wingenbach came to Ripon in 2015 and has guided the community in developing several innovations that position the College at the leading edge of 21st-century higher education. In his first year, he led the faculty in the development and implementation of the Catalyst core curriculum. Catalyst employs traditional liberal arts approaches to develop the essential skills graduates need to be enthusiastic lifelong learners and successful professionals. Catalyst culminates in the unique Applied Innovation Seminar, in which small teams of students spend a full semester grappling with a large, real-world issue in order to develop and present viable solutions to these essential problems. Wingenbach acquired significant external support for Catalyst, including $800,000 from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support implementation and $350,000 from the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation to infuse sustainability principles into the curriculum.
Wingenbach has established new programs, strengthened existing programs and created more opportunities for Ripon College students to connect to opportunities. He established the Office of Career and Professional Development and supported the integration of its programs into the curriculum, ensuring that every student has significant contact with Career and Professional Development every year. He restructured and revitalized high-enrollment programs in business management, education and exercise science, deepened cross-disciplinary curricula by facilitating departmental mergers and integrating majors, and revitalized majors in computer science, physics and anthropology. He established degree partnerships and pathways for law school, special education certification, physical therapy and chiropractic medicine.
Under his leadership, Ripon College has increased its commitment to student access and success, generating significant increases in the number of lower-income, under-represented and first-generation students attending the College. He has worked with departments and programs across the institution to implement strategies to support student success, regardless of background, and to ensure the College meets its obligation to meet every student where they are in order to help them fulfill their potential. Wingenbach has prioritized increasing the diversity of the college community, adopting recruitment approaches that generate a more representative pool of candidates for positions and help students from under-represented backgrounds feel more comfortable matriculating to Ripon; since 2015, faculty diversity has increased by 40 percent.
Wingenbach has spoken to audiences around the country to share Ripon College’s innovations in curriculum and success in supporting a diverse student population. At national meetings of colleges and universities, he has presented strategies to improve low-income student success, approaches to successful curricular reform, implementation of inquiry-based learning and methods to meaningfully engage students in conversations about oppression and inequality. He helped design and lead the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM) Institute on College Futures Seminar, which explores the challenges of shared governance during periods of increasing financial and other external pressures. He also is on the steering committee for the ACM’s Undergraduate and Faculty Fellows Program for a Diverse Professoriate.
Wingenbach formerly was associate provost for academic affairs and a professor in the political science department at the University of Redlands in California. He also has served as chair of the faculty assembly and held a number of academic and administrative roles since 2000.
As associate provost, Wingenbach led efforts to internationalize the University of Redlands, advance sponsored research success, extend community-based learning across the curriculum, and improve the use of data to increase student success. He has worked closely with faculty and administration to coordinate the assessment of student learning outcomes, manage academic program reviews, and encourage the use of assessment findings. He also led the university’s ongoing work to maintain accreditation.
His research interests include contemporary political theory, democratic theory and the scholarship of teaching and learning. His articles have appeared in some of the top journals of political science. In 2001, Wingenbach’s article “Preference Aggregation, Functional Pathologies and Democracy: A Social Choice Defense of Participatory Democracy” was recognized with the award for Best Paper Published in the Journal of Politics. Wingenbach is the author of “Institutionalizing Agonistic Democracy,” published in the Ashgate series “Rethinking Political and International Theory.” In 2017, he was invited to be a plenary speaker for the Biennial Conference of the German Society for Phenomenological Research. In 2006, he received the University of Redlands Award for Outstanding Service.
His previous teaching experience includes posts at San Diego State University and the University of South Carolina, where he received the Mortar Board Excellence in Teaching Award in 1998.
Wingenbach earned his bachelor’s degree in politics and political philosophy and religion from Lake Forest College, where he has served on the Alumni Board. He earned his master’s degree and doctorate in government and international studies from the University of Notre Dame.