Crawley Hopes to ACE the Ropes at DePaul
October 6, 2010
For the next nine months, William R. Crawley will be a ubiquitous figure at DePaul, immersing himself in multiple aspects of the university operation and mission.
From joining DePaul’s president, Rev. Dennis Holtschneider, C.M., at important social functions to attending Joint Council meetings, Crawley, 41, is keeping a busy agenda as the current participant in the American Council on Education’s (ACE) Fellows Program. Each year since 1965, the program has sent dozens of vice presidents, deans, department chairs, faculty and other leaders in academia to spend a year at another institution of higher learning to job shadow and learn.
For Crawley, who has spent his entire career at public institutions, it is especially valuable to see how a private, religiously affiliated school functions. “I’ve been very impressed with how omnipresent the mission of DePaul is across the university,” Crawley said. “It’s rarer [at other schools] than it should be.”
A native of Iowa, Crawley’s academic and professional career has largely been in college towns and smaller cities, including Columbia, S.C. He is enthused to be spending a year in Chicago, especially since much of his academic work has focused on issues that plague large urban areas, including gangs and drugs. He is currently a tenured professor of criminal justice and an associate dean in the college of community and public service at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Aside from immersing himself in the culture of DePaul, Crawley is looking forward to learning as much as possible about the operational side of the university as well, especially in the area of enrollment management, which he notes the university is known for “throughout the country.” He also considers himself lucky to have arrived just as DePaul kicked off the public phase of its $250 million capital campaign.
No stranger to unexpected challenges, Crawley prides himself on seizing opportunities when they materialize. For example, after applying in 2009 for a teaching-abroad position in Japan with the Japanese Center for Michigan Universities, Crawley found himself being asked instead to serve as interim director of the campus based in Hikone, Japan. It was a challenging but rewarding career move. “My work in Japan was a good precursor to being here at DePaul,” he says. “I enjoy these intense learning experiences.”