Dr. Kent Olney Named Dean of College of Arts & Sciences

Olivet announces appointment of long-time faculty member.

The Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Stephen Lowe recently announced the appointment of Dr. Kent Olney as the new dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, effective immediately.

Dr. Olney has been a faculty member in higher education for more than thirty years at Olivet and Western Oregon State University. His administrative leadership experience includes serving for two years as chair of the Division of Social Sciences and a combined sixteen years as Chair of the Department of Behavioral Sciences and the Department of Sociology, Social Work and Criminal Justice.  

He holds a Ph.D. and an M.S. in Sociology, both from the University of Oregon; an M.A. in Counseling, from Gallaudet University; and an M.Div. in Ministry as well as a B.A. in Sociology, both from Asbury College. 

In addition to his teaching and administrative experiences, Dr. Olney also has a strong record of scholarship. His Ph.D. dissertation was a historical, narrative treatment of Philip Hasenstab, an early 20th century pioneer in the development of ministry to the deaf community within the Methodist Church. That work led to “The Chicago Mission for the Deaf,” a chapter in The Deaf History Reader (Gallaudet University Press, 2007). He has authored numerous pieces for such outlets as the International Deaf History Newsletter and Holiness Today. 

In his administrative roles, Dr. Olney has cultivated an environment of scholarly research throughout the Department of Behavioral Sciences. Among his numerous university service assignments have been sitting on the General Education Committee and authoring the self-study chapters on institutional mission for Olivet’s Higher Learning Commission accreditation visits in 2014 and 2018. In recognition of his effective classroom instruction, Dr. Olney received the Richard M. Jones Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence.

Dr. Lowe said of the appointment, “In sum, Kent’s scholarly, administrative, university service, and instructional experiences are exceptional and qualify him to serve as our next Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. I am grateful that he has accepted this challenging new assignment during such a pivotal period in Olivet’s history.”

Dr. Olney and his wife, Beth, are the parents of Kyle, who graduated from Asbury College, and Luke Olney ’10/’12 M.O.L. Beth also worked for the University for 19 years, and recently retired to spend more time with their grandchildren. Kyle and his wife, Amber (McKean) ’08/’13 M.O.L., are the parents of Autumn, Kamden and Kolton. Luke and his wife, Amber (Leffel) ’14/, are the parents of Benedict and Claire. The Olney family is actively involved at College Church of the Nazarene at University Avenue.

For more information about the College of Arts and Sciences, and other areas of study, contact the Office of Admissions at admissions@olivet.edu or 800-648-1463.

Published 4/22/2021
LB