Dr. James Perey, Executive Dean of the Verde Valley campus, announced Waak’s new position Tuesday saying, “Dr. Waak’s passion and commitment to faculty and student success make her a great fit for the Verde Valley campus associate dean’s position. I look forward to working with her to advance the College’s mission of providing quality educational programming and opportunities.”
Waak said she was both thrilled and honored to be entrusted with the position after serving as interim associate dean for the last year. “I look forward to helping with new and ongoing projects and with curriculum development for student success. It’s also very exciting to work with Dr. Perey on new program development such as the Culinary and Hospitality programs. Of course, the best part is supporting the academics -- both faculty and students.”
A 1977 honors graduate of YC, Waak went on to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees in secondary education and English/Linguistics from Northern Arizona University. She earned a Ph.D. in higher education administration from Capella University in 2005.
Waak launched her teaching career as an English as a Second Language (ESL) instructor in elementary and secondary classrooms. She taught middle school English and Coconino Community College classes in Williams before joining the YC English Department, initially as an adjunct instructor. During her 22 years of instruction at YC, she served as YC Faculty Senate President and as Dual Enrollment Liaison for the English Department.
Waak estimates that since she started teaching at YC, more than 6,000 students have come through her classroom door. “I am asked everyday if I miss teaching English at the college level. My answer is always no. But, I sure miss my students. After teaching for so many years, stepping into an administrative position feels fresh and innovative,” she said.