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William Dean

College of Arts and Sciences

History and Political Science

Ph.D., 1985, University of Iowa
M.A., 1975, Portland State University
B.A., 1970, Asbury College

Dr. Dean is professor of world history and department chair. He earned an associate of arts degree at a Bible college before completing his B.A. in history. His M.A. is in medieval and renaissance history, with special emphasis on the social context of religious reform. His studies leading to his Ph.D. were divided between church history in the religion department, and political and social studies in the history department. He is interested in understanding the interconnections and reciprocal influences between Christian faith and western societies.

The interdisciplinary nature of his studies is revealed in his book, The Church at Risk: The Encroachment of American Society on the Church (1991), where issues raised in the Epistle to the Hebrews resonate with the challenges facing Christian communities in modern culture.

Encouraging students to take advantage of study abroad semesters during their college years is one of Dr. Dean’s passions. His own extensive experience overseas, including his two years as a pastor in the Methodist Church in Great Britain and the beneficial impact that living abroad had on his own family, supports his contention that young Christian leaders in a global economy need to put their feet down among people who see the world through different sets of lenses.

Dr. Dean is also an ordained minister and, prior to coming to Olivet, served congregations in Ky., Ore., England, Ala. and N.C. He continues to be active in the training of pastors both in the U.S. and overseas. He has also served as an ESL facilitator for Ukrainian public school teachers and as an adjunct professor for the Caribbean Nazarene College satellite program in Jamaica.

In 2007, Dr. Dean was a participant in the Oxford Roundtable at Jesus College in Oxford. He is a member of the Conference on Faith and History (an affiliate of the American Historical Association) and of The Historical Society.

His leisure interests include building furniture, extensive home remodeling and writing. He and his wife, Joan, have two sons and enjoy spending time with their grandchildren.




Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.