Dr. Irene Pittman Aiken has been appointed associate dean for the School of Graduate Studies at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
Dr. Aiken, a professor in the School of Education, served as the chair of Professional Studies, Middle Grades and Master of Arts in Teaching programs and as the director for Master of Arts in Education for Elementary Education, prior to beginning her new position on August 18.
As associate dean, she assists Dr. Sara Simmons, acting dean of the School of Graduate Studies, in providing leadership and support for all administrative areas of graduate education at UNCP. Dr. Charles Harrington, provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs, said Dr. Aiken brings experience and energy to the position.
Dr. Aiken joined the Education Department faculty in 1994 and served as director of the University’s Teaching Fellows Program. She is passionate about education and the impact it can play in changing people’s lives, and has taught numerous undergraduate and graduate teacher education courses. Dr. Aiken’s effectiveness was recognized in 2002 when she received UNCP’s Outstanding Teaching Award.
“To work and learn in an administrative role at the University while continuing to pursue my passion for teaching is an irresistible opportunity,” Dr. Aiken said. “This is an exciting and challenging time because UNCP’s graduate programs are growing rapidly.
“Since launching in the late 1970s, UNCP’s graduate programs have been a real asset to our region,” she said. “I am honored to be a part of this enterprise.”
Dr. Aiken’s research efforts, which have resulted in a number of publications and dozens of state, national and international presentations, have focused on field experiences, teacher preparation programs, innovations in teaching and, more recently, online pedagogy. She was one of the first UNCP faculty members to offer courses online and presents workshops and lectures related to online teaching and learning.
Dr. Aiken holds a Bachelor of Arts in intermediate education with a mathematics concentration from UNC-Chapel Hill and an M.Ed. in elementary education from UNCP. Dr. Aiken holds a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction with a minor in sociology from UNC-Chapel Hill.
Following her undergraduate studies, Dr. Aiken taught fourth and fifth grade on Saba, a Netherlands Antilles island in the Caribbean. She then taught at Leak Street and Washington Street Schools in Rockingham prior to working with the Teaching Fellows Program at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Reared in Rockingham and a graduate of Richmond County schools, Dr. Aiken is married to Dr. R. Kevin Aiken, a dentist in Rockingham. They have one son, Kevin, a first grader at L. J. Bell Elementary School.