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Duquesne picks first black woman as dean

| Friday, April 22, 2005

Editor's note: This article was modified Friday, April 22, 2005, to correct information about the university where Olga Welch is currently a professor.

Olga Welch of the University of Tennessee has been named the dean of the Duquesne University School of Education -- making her the first black woman to serve as a dean at the university.

"I consider it a wonderful reflection of the institution's commitment to move forward on diversity -- not token diversity, but a real understanding of different perspectives," she said Thursday.

Welch, 56, is a professor in the University of Tennessee's department of theory and practice in teacher education. She is head of the educational administration and policy studies department and of the counseling, deafness and human services department.

"Dr. Welch is an administrator known for building common ground among diverse constituencies and moving initiatives forward with a shared purpose," Duquesne President Charles Dougherty said in a statement.

Welch grew up in Washington, D.C. Her father, Samuel Barnes, was athletics director and head of the physical education department at Howard University. Her mother, Olga Barnes, was a librarian.

"I grew up watching my father teach and being very proud of that," she said.

Welch received a bachelor's degree from Howard and a master's degree in deaf education and a doctorate in educational administration and supervision, both from Tennessee.

She and her husband, George, a retired employee of the Tennessee Valley Authority, have two daughters: Taja 24, and Stephani, 21.

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