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MU College of Human Environmental Sciences Dean to Retire

August 21st, 2014

Story Contact: Jesslyn Chew,

COLUMBIA, Mo. ­— University of Missouri Interim Provost Ken Dean announced today that Stephen Jorgensen, dean of the MU College of Human Environmental Sciences, will retire effective Aug. 31, 2015. Jorgensen has served as dean since 2001.

“We will greatly miss Steve’s leadership,” Dean said. “He has guided the College of Human Environmental Sciences through continued growth in students, funding, and classroom and office space. He will be remembered for the partnerships he formed within the College of Human Environmental Sciences and across campus with other schools and colleges.”

During Jorgensen’s time as dean of the College of Human Environmental Sciences:

  • The college’s endowment increased nearly 160 percent to more than $14 million.
  • Undergraduate student enrollment grew from 1,093 in 2001 to more than 1,400 last fall; graduate student enrollment grew from 242 to 360 in the same period.
  • The number of credit hours generated by students nearly doubled since 2001, with last year’s credit hours topping 60,300.
  • Gwynn Hall, the building which houses many offices and classrooms for the College of Human Environmental Sciences, underwent a complete renovation between 2012 and 2013.

“As dean, it has been rewarding to be part of the growth the college has experienced,” Jorgensen said. “I’ve enjoyed helping students, faculty and staff resolve problems and break down barriers as they strive to achieve their goals. It’s been a delight working with them to accomplish all we have as a college. I leave MU knowing the College of Human Environmental Sciences is headed in a direction that will contribute so much to the well-being of families and our broader society in the future.”

During his time with the College of Human Environmental Sciences, Jorgensen’s leadership was vital in securing support to open the MU Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders.

Jorgensen began his academic career at the University of Minnesota, where he completed a doctorate in family sociology in 1976. He later served as a faculty member at the University of Arizona and Texas Tech University, where he was named associate dean of the College of Human Sciences before moving to the University of Arkansas to serve as director and professor at its School of Human Environmental Sciences. Jorgensen obtained bachelor’s degrees in sociology and Spanish from Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Jorgensen has given more than 65 presentations at professional meetings, authored two books and published more than 30 journal articles, book chapters and book reviews. His research interests include adolescent sexual risk taking, adolescent pregnancy prevention, marital structure and process, and the evaluation of research methodology.

The university will conduct a national search for Jorgensen’s replacement, Dean said.