At the end of the day, what matters most to Harry Hellenbrand are the students.
After more than a decade as California State University, Northridge’s provost and vice president for academic affairs, Hellenbrand is retiring from his current role at the end of June and returning to teaching and writing.
“It’ll be different,” Hellenbrand said about his decision to teach American literature and basic writing courses at CSUN next year. “But change is good. The one thing I won’t miss will be all the meetings.”
Hellenbrand came to CSUN as provost in 2004, and briefly served as interim president in 2012, prior to the appointment of the university’s current president, Dianne F. Harrison. During his tenure, he garnered the respect and admiration of the entire campus community.
“Harry has provided 11 years of extraordinary service to the university and our students, faculty and staff,” Harrison said. “He has been considered a ‘provost among provosts’ within the CSU and nationally.”
Film professor Nate Thomas, president of CSUN’s faculty union, said Hellenbrand’s leadership will be missed.
“Harry has always been faculty centered and student centered,” Thomas said. “As provost, he always had an open-door policy, and he did what he could to empower and support the faculty. He truly has respect for all segments of our campus, and that was reflected in how he treated everyone.”
As provost and vice president for academic affairs, nearly all academic matters fell under Hellenbrand’s purview. Organized into nine colleges with more than 50 academic departments, the academic affairs division also includes the Delmar T. Oviatt Library and six administrative offices: Educational Opportunity Program, Department of Academic Resources and Planning, Office of Faculty Affairs, Office of Research and Graduate Studies, Office of Institutional Research, and Undergraduate Studies.
As he considers his own future on the campus, Hellenbrand said he is looking forward to being in the classroom again.
Hellenbrand said he recognizes that young people today are actually more engaged than they are usually given credit for, and he is looking forward to “understanding what is important to them, and get who they are.”