Office of the President

Edward Wingenbach, Ph.D., is president of Hampshire College, and began his tenure as the College’s eighth president in August, 2019.

Wingenbach is leading the remarkable turnaround of Hampshire College. Immediately upon his arrival, he spearheaded a community-wide process to reimagine and reinvigorate an innovative student academic experience, and by October of that year the College’s board ratified a new direction for Hampshire, placing urgent challenges, rather than disciplines, at the center of the curriculum. 

He successfully developed a viable multi-year path to financial sustainability; restructured the operating budget; worked collaboratively and transparently with faculty and staff to meet expense targets; oversaw the successful launch of the $60 million Change in the Making campaign, which has already generated nearly $40 million in new commitments to the College (including two $5 million gifts, the largest since the College’s founding); rebuilt a dynamic and experienced senior leadership team; maintained continuing accreditation with the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), and navigated the Covid-19 crisis on campus, allowing students a residential educational experience while maintaining rigorous public health and safety standards.

From January to June 2019, he was acting president of Ripon College in Wisconsin, where he had been vice president and dean of faculty and a professor of politics and government since 2015. During that time, he worked with the Board and senior leadership to develop a campus-wide strategic planning process and predictive modeling for enrollment, retention, and net revenue, and oversaw Ripon’s $26 million operating budget.

As vice president and dean of faculty, he was the chief academic officer of the College, responsible for the leadership of the faculty and the management and development of the academic program. He also oversaw athletics, career and professional development, sustainability efforts, and sponsored research, and an overall budget of approximately $12 million. He also served as a professor in the Politics and Government Department.

Wingenbach’s dynamic and effective leadership helped increase the size of the incoming class by 28 percent from 2015 to 2018, while maintaining stable net tuition, improving its national profile, and putting Ripon on a stronger footing financially.

Previously, he served for 15 years in administrative and faculty leadership roles at the University of Redlands in California. Wingenbach was associate provost for academic affairs, faculty chair of the Department of Government, and director of the International Relations Program. During his tenure, Wingenbach aligned his teaching with the Johnston Center for Integrative Studies, which practices a similar model to Hampshire’s, guiding students to direct their own learning. 

At Redlands, he led efforts to expand international recruitment of students and faculty, improve success of sponsored research, expand community-based learning, and increase the use of data for student success. He also led the university’s successful re-accreditation. The University honored him with an award for distinguished service, and students selected him as their commencement speaker.

Wingenbach is a frequent speaker nationally including at annual meetings of the Association of American Colleges and Universities and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, on such topics as improving success for low-income students, reforming curricula, implementing inquiry-based learning, and engaging 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, and served on the steering committee for the ACM’s Undergraduate and Faculty Fellows Program for a Diverse Professoriate.

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. Wingenbach’s article, “Preference Aggregation, Functional Pathologies and Democracy: A Social Choice Defense of Participatory Democracy” was recognized with the award for the “Best Paper” published in the Journal of Politics in 2001. 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’s own experience with personalized, experiential learning began as an undergraduate at Lake Forest College in Illinois, where he chose a program similar to Hampshire’s, designing his own course of study and completing a major thesis research project. That experience gained him admission to the University of Notre Dame in Indiana where he earned a master’s degree and doctorate in government and international studies.

Wingenbach lives in Amherst, Massachusetts with his wife, Susan Rice, and their two children, Thelan and Thea. 

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