New Dean of College of Arts and Letters


Photo via Clarion University.

Jonathan Fernandes, News Editor

Dr. Laura Delbrugge has been officially confirmed as the new dean of the College of Arts and Letters at Old Dominion University. Interim dean Dr. Jonathan Leib will be stepping down from the position on July 9. 

“Dr. Delbrugge is a proven leader in higher education. Her significant expertise includes shared governance, leading a state-driven effort to integrate teams from multiple universities, and providing crisis leadership in response to the pandemic,” said Austin Agho, ODU’s provost, in his email to the university on Wednesday. “Collaborating with faculty, students, staff, alumni and the arts community, Dr. Delbrugge will build on Old Dominion’s research and creative prominence in the arts and help us reach new heights.” 

Delbrugge’s strong background in education comes through her experience as a professor. Delbrugge obtained a B.A. from Central College in Iowa in Spanish in 1991. She built upon this with a M.A. and then Ph.D. in Spanish at The Pennsylvania State University in 1996.  Her focus throughout was Spanish medieval literature. She has published scholarly editions of works originally by Andrés de Li from the 1400s, in addition to presenting her work at domestic and international conferences. 

Delbrugge obtained tenure at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) as a professor teaching Spanish. Rate My Professor reviews described her as “passionate, caring, and overall one of the best professors I’ve ever had.” 

Another said of her class: “She’s extremely nice and funny and it’s obvious she enjoys what she does. She pushes you to do well and it pays off.”

Her strong passion for teaching was reflected in the high marks her classes received. However, teaching was not the only function Delbrugge performed during her time there. She has filled a vast array of academic leadership roles over the course of 20 years. 

Chosen as dean’s associate of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, she then went on to chair the Department of Foreign Languages. She was also provost’s associate for Academic Programs and Planning. In 2013, she helped lead the Reaffirmation of Accreditation with the Middle States Commission on Higher Education at IUP. Additionally, she oversaw an assessment of IUP’s student learning outcomes and academic program review to help ensure students were meeting educational requirements. Her leadership in university planning helped to revise faculty promotions and curricular approval processes.

Delbrugge also has an impressive track record promoting diversity, equity and inclusion. Staunchly supporting student accessibility and advocating for equality in education has been a priority for Delbrugge. She has also contributed to ensuring safety for victims of abuse. She worked closely with Carion County, Pennsylvania, serving on the board of directors for SAFE (Stop Abuse for Everyone). 

The position of dean for the College of Arts and Letters was selected by a special committee chaired by Dean Gail Dodge. Dr. Laura Delbrugge was selected from a diverse pool of strong candidates. Delbrugge will begin her new role July 9.