After nearly 40 years, Dr. Hunter Boylan, Director for Appalachian State University’s Reich College of Education’s National Center for Developmental Education and Professor in Appalachian State University’s Reich College of Education’s Department of Leadership and Educational Studies, retired on July 31, 2019.
“I'm most looking forward to exploring areas of endeavor other than my job,” said Boylan when asked what about retirement he is most looking forward to. “I've sacrificed a lot in the service of the university and my field. It's now time to pursue other interests and enjoy other things while continuing to do research on topics I find interesting.”
“I'll probably do more cooking, more wine collecting and tasting, more fishing, more shooting, more bicycling, more reading, more personal travelling, more working out, more studying military history, and more visiting with friends,” continued Boylan. “I'll also spend more time with my gun, coin, and art collections.”
When asked how Appalachian has changed during his time here, Boylan said, “It's a vastly different place than when I started here.”
“Appalachian State has obviously grown larger,” he continued. “In the process, the faculty have become more cosmopolitan and the students more elite, both academically and economically. There is a lot more talk now among faculty and administrators about social justice.”
Boylan earned his Ph.D. in administration and supervision in higher education from Bowling Green State University, his M.Ed. in counseling and guidance from Temple University, and his B.A. in political science and history from Miami University.
Boylan joined Appalachian State University and the Reich College of Education (RCOE) in 1980 as the director of the Kellogg Institute. After an 18 months leave of absence he took in 1987 to assist setting up a doctoral program at Grambling State University, Boylan returned to Appalachian. A couple years later he then moved into the role as the director for the National Center for Developmental Education and professor of higher education.
“The work of developmental education is not done, and will continue beyond the working life of Dr. Hunter Boylan, but we can rest assured that Hunter has sparked a passion and determination to seek change for the better in a large number of talented individuals during his 40 years of service. His legacy will live on for many more years.” - Dr. Fiona Chrystall
Former Kellogg attendee and Director of Curriculum Quality Assurance & Assessment at AB Tech Community College in Asheville, North Carolina, Dr. Fiona Chyrstall said, “My teaching remains strongly rooted in the principles of developmental education, although it wasn’t called that back in Scotland where I began my career in higher education. It was also a fairly new concept back home in the 90s, so attending Kellogg and becoming part of what was clearly a well-established field with some good scholarship being conducted to develop best practices was refreshing.”
Chrystall continued, “The work of developmental education is not done, and will continue beyond the working life of Dr. Hunter Boylan, but we can rest assured that Hunter has sparked a passion and determination to seek change for the better in a large number of talented individuals during his 40 years of service. His legacy will live on for many more years.”
Boylan is a prolific author who regularly contributes to scholarly publications and is a sought-after presenter at state, regional, national, and international conferences. He regularly engages in institutional and professional service and is a member of numerous professional organizations. Among these are the Council of Learning Assistance and Developmental Education Associations (originally American Council of Developmental Education Associations), American Educational Research Association, College Reading and Learning Association, European Access Network, National Association for Developmental Education, National College Learning Association, and North Carolina Association for Developmental Education.
Bolyan has served as an editorial board member for many publications including, the Journal of Developmental Education, Journal of Teaching and Learning, and International Journal of Education and Development Using Information and Communication Technology. He has also served on many advisory boards including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Developmental Education Advisory Board, Academic Innovation and Continuing Education Programme (University of Stirling, Scotland), The International Conference on Lifelong Learning (University of New South Wales, Australia), and National Center for Postsecondary Research (Teachers College, Columbia University).
Since 1981, Boylan has received nearly $4,000,000 in grants and contracts. He has published 7 books and authored or co-authored over 100 articles, technical reports, and book chapters. He has delivered over 200 workshops and papers and 70 keynote addresses.
Boylan has received many awards and accolades, including Who’s Who in American Education, Appalachian State University’s Distinguished Graduate Faculty Member award, Appalachian State University’s Outstanding Advising and Mentoring award, and Service and Leadership award from the Council of Learning Assistance and Developmental Education Associations. He also has two scholarships named for him. The Association for the Tutoring Profession named its research scholarship the “Hunter R. Boylan Award” in recognition of contributions to research in tutoring. The National College Learning Center Association named its research scholarship the “Hunter R. Boylan Scholarship” in recognition of contributions to research in learning assistance.
The graduate courses Boylan has taught include American Higher Education, Policy Analysis in Higher Education, Critical Issues in Adult and Developmental Education, Leadership in Higher Education, and Adult Development and Learning Theories.
Laura Padgett ‘01, Director of Graduate Student Services and Development at Appalachian State University’s Cratis D. Williams School of Graduate Studies and one of Boylan’s former students, recounted her classroom experience: “A special mentor nudged me to pursue my master's degree in developmental education. It was here that I met my advisor and first professor in the program, Dr. Boylan. His unwavering passion for and dedication to developmental education filled every square inch of the room.”
Padgett continued, “Dr. Boylan cooked dinner for us many times. He cooked for us because he knew many of us were coming to class from our full-time jobs or from picking up and dropping off children or a myriad of other responsibilities. But even more than that, he was modeling what developmental education is at its very core. It considers the whole person, their stage of life, all of their needs, their fears and their challenges and provides an opportunity for learning by using what seems to be barriers to most but to a developmental educator is a springboard to success and greatness. There is no doubt that I am the educator that I am today and was always meant to be because of Dr. Hunter Boylan.”
To those faculty beginning their careers Boylan offers the following advice:
- “Pick a topic that interests you and think about it, talk about it with colleagues, research it, present on it, and write about it until you are a genuine expert.”
- “Recognize that ignorance leads to confidence before it is informed by knowledge and beware of that in yourself and others.”
- “Bear in mind General Simon Bolivar Buckner's quote: ‘Good judgment comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgment.’ Learn the lessons of your experience.”
A reception honoring Boylan will be held Wednesday, September 4, 2019, from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm in the RCOE Rotunda.