Female professor in a classroom

Pamela M. Wesely, a respected scholar in language education, has been appointed the new University of Iowa College of Education Associate Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs. Photo by Mei-Ling Shaw.

| July 29, 2021

Pamela M. Wesely, a respected scholar in language education, has been appointed the new University of Iowa College of Education Associate Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs, effective immediately.

Wesely, a College of Education multilingual education professor, succeeds Amanda Thein, who was selected as the new UI Associate Provost for Graduate and Professional Education and Graduate College Dean, beginning July 1.

“I am thrilled to have this opportunity to provide service to the college, its faculty, staff, and students in a new way,” Wesely says. “In my time at the University of Iowa, I have grown to appreciate the expertise, perspectives, and collegiality across the many different areas of the College of Education.”

Since joining the UI College of Education in 2009, Wesely has held a number of leadership roles. Most recently, she has served as the associate departmental executive officer and director of Graduate Studies, both for the Department of Teaching and Learning, and as program coordinator of the World Language Teacher Education Program. Prior to this, she served as the program coordinator for the Foreign Language and ESL Education Program. Wesely specializes in language education, language teacher development, research methods, and social justice in education.


In this new role, Wesely will provide oversight and leadership in the areas of academic affairs, graduate programs and student support, and international programs. Wesely also oversees the Education Studies and Human Relations (ESHR) major and non-licensure majors and the Baker Teacher Leader Center. She is the liaison from the College of Education to the Graduate College.

“I look forward to supporting the diverse and successful academic programs that already exist in the college, and I am excited to help find new paths forward in academics that will encourage and sustain all members of our community while preparing new leaders in education and educational research,” Wesely says. 

Wesely adds that she hopes to advance and enhance equity in practices in the college, continue to increase access to graduate education, and center the diverse experiences of faculty, staff and students in moving the college forward. 

“Teaching and advising graduate students has always been a highlight of my professional life,” Wesely says. “They constantly challenge, energize, and inspire me. It will be exciting to have a chance to support and connect with all graduate students across the college in this position."

UI College of Education Dean Daniel L. Clay says Wesely is an excellent leader and advocate for faculty and students, who will continue to support academic excellence and research rigor.

“Pam brings a wealth of experience as a respected professor and colleague, an accomplished scholar, a mentor, and campus and community leader,” Clay says. “She has excelled in all of her previous leadership roles, and I know she will continue to help lead our college successfully into the future.”

Wesely received her Bachelor of Arts in French and Anthropology in 1996 from Yale University, her Master of Arts in French Studies from New York University in 1998, and her doctorate in Second Languages and Cultures, Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Minnesota in 2009.

She has worked as a middle school French teacher for eight years in schools in Minnesota and Massachusetts. Wesely also worked at Concordia Language Villages for 11 years, the last as the camp director.

Other leadership roles include serving as the president and an executive board member of the Iowa World Language Association and as an at-large board of director member, treasurer, and executive committee member of ACTFL, the national organization for language educators.

She has also received a number of awards and honors including the Citizen Diplomat Award from the Council for International Visitors to Iowa Cities (CIVIC) in 2020, the Educator of the Year Award (Post-Secondary), from the Iowa World Language Association in 2019, and an Obermann Fellow-in-Residence from the UI Obermann Center in 2018, to name just a few.

Wesely is widely published in a number of journals, is the co-author or author of several books and book chapters, she has presented at dozens of conferences, and she has served as a keynote speaker at major conferences.

During her 12 years at Iowa, Wesely says she has had the pleasure of working with colleagues across the college in many different ways.

“Our faculty are leaders in their fields across education and are known nationally and internationally,” Wesely says. “I look forward to supporting them and especially assisting junior faculty in meeting their goals.”