Edward Wingenbach, Ph.D., is president of Hampshire College, and began his tenure as the College’s eighth president in August, 2019.
He is an accomplished, passionate administrator, faculty leader, scholar, and proponent of liberal arts education, who is also serving as a member of Hampshire’s faculty. From January to June 2019, he was acting president of Ripon College in Wisconsin, the venerable liberal arts college where he has been vice president and dean of faculty and a professor of politics and government since 2015. Previously, he served for 15 years in administrative and faculty leadership roles at the University of Redlands in California.
In his fifteen years at the University of Redlands, Wingenbach aligned his teaching with the Johnston Center for Integrative Studies, which practices a similar model to Hampshire’s, of guiding students to direct their own learning. Both institutions belong to the Consortium for Innovative Environments in Learning (CIEL), a working group promoting best practices around education reform and individualized, student-driven, experiential learning.
In January, 2019, Ripon College’s Board of Trustees appointed Ed Wingenbach to serve as acting president during President Zach Messittee’s spring sabbatical. Concurrently, Ripon’s chief financial officer left the college, so Wingenbach acted in both capacities. 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.
Founded in 1863, Ripon College enrolls some 800 students and is a member of the prestigious Associated Colleges of the Midwest alongside Beloit College, Carleton College, Colorado College, Grinnell College, and others. Its endowment is $92 million.
As vice president and dean of faculty at Ripon College from 2015-19, he acted as the chief academic officer of the College and was 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 some $12 million. He also served as a professor in the Politics and Government Department.
Wingenbach has been a dynamic and effective administrator at Ripon, where his leadership helped increase the size of the incoming class by 28% from 2015 to 2018, while maintaining stable net tuition, improving its national profile, and putting Ripon on a stronger footing financially.
Wingenbach acquired significant external support for Ripon, including from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation, and the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations. As both an administrator and faculty leader, he has significant experience in fundraising, working with foundations, major donors, and givers at all levels.
Wingenbach guided the Ripon College community in developing several innovations that positioned 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 life-long 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 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 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 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 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.
Wingenbach has been 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.
Previously, at the University of Redlands, Wingenbach was associate provost for academic affairs, faculty chair of the Department of Government, and director of the International Relations Program. There, 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.
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.