Since 2015, Dr. Charlton Wolfgang has held a variety of responsibilities and positions as a part of the Early, Middle and Exceptional Education Department at Millersville University. Now, he says he’s excited to step into his new role as director of the Honors College.
Wolfgang says that his professional experiences from before and during his time at the University provided him with the necessary expertise for this new position.
“My teaching experiences helped me to understand how students learn and how gifted and high-ability students learn,” he says. “Most of my time in K-12 education was spent as a gifted support teacher and gifted education coordinator for the school district. During this time, I wrote over 1000 Gifted Individualized Education Plans, which helped me to expand my teaching ‘toolbox’ to better help my students in all content areas.”
“Starting in my first semester at MU, I served as the graduate coordinator for the Gifted Education programs, a role in which I will continue to serve,” he adds. “We are the largest graduate gifted education program in the state, which enables me to network with hundreds of gifted education and general education teachers across the region to spread the word about our Honors College.”
Wolfgang also administers the Gifted Education Listserv for Pennsylvania, a tool that puts him in contact with over 100 gifted education teachers and administrators in the state. Additionally, he served on the Pennsylvania Association for Gifted Education board and continues to work with the organization today.
“These partnerships enable me to connect with educators and school districts across the state and will help recruit potential students to MU and our Honors College,” says Wolfgang.
Wolfgang will take over for Dr. Elizabeth Thyrum, who previously served as director for six years. Thyrum will continue in her position as an associate professor of psychology at the University, as well as assistant chair. She says that she values her time as director of the Honors College, and it comes with many fond memories of events, bus trips, thesis defenses and connections with students.
One of the most rewarding aspects of her time as director includes serving as a mentor and leader throughout her students’ academic careers, including “helping students grow from their first year, become involved with the Honors College, spread their wings to be part of their majors and with campus clubs and activities, attending their thesis defense, then presenting their honors medal at the Honors College recognition banquet in front of their parents and faculty.”
“I feel so fortunate to have been able to give back to a program that I graduated from in 1986,” Thyrum says. “I truly believe in the benefits and strengths of this program. It made a difference in my MU education and helped set me on a path to my future career!”
“I plan to build upon the exceptionally strong foundation laid by my predecessor, Dr. Thyrum, and those who came before her,” says Wolfgang. “The Honors College has an excellent reputation on campus as well as throughout the PASSHE system; my hope is to continue to build our programs and expand opportunities for our students.”
Wolfgang says his goals for the Honors College include increasing its campus visibility and connections to University faculty members and local organizations. Another goal is to increase the number of opportunities for international students. “Increasing the diversity of the student body in the Honors College will benefit everyone,” he notes.
A related goal is to increase the number of opportunities students can have to study abroad. In May, Wolfgang traveled to Latvia, Estonia and Sweden through a pilot study trip for the Honors College. “I am working on developing next year’s trip, focusing on international organizations,” he says. “The plan is to establish a rotating set of study abroad opportunities for students, helping to broaden their perspectives and experiences.”
Overall, Wolfgang is looking forward to the opportunities that lie ahead. “I am thrilled to be in this new position,” he concludes. “I look forward to meeting all the Honors College students and working with them during their time at MU!
Interested in the Honors College at Millersville University? Click here.