Dr. Charles Degeneffe Elected New Chair of ARPE Department

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For the first time in nearly 13 years, San Diego State University’s Department of Administration, Rehabilitation and Postsecondary Education (ARPE) is about to be under new management.

Dr. Charles Degeneffe, professor of rehabilitation counseling, has been elected the new chair of ARPE. As of July 1, 2021, he will succeed the retiring Dr. Caren Sax, who has served as chair since 2008.

“I'm humbled to follow in her footsteps,” Degeneffe said. “She's always been very supportive of me and been a great leader to the faculty. She provides a great example for how I'm going to approach this role. I told her I will definitely be seeking out her counsel at times."

While happy to assist, Sax said she isn’t expecting a deluge of calls.

“I feel like the department will be in really good hands,” she said. “I've been talking to Chuck about it for a while and probably introduced the idea to him a couple of years ago — I'm a strong believer in looking forward and looking at succession planning. Chuck is very thoughtful about what he does — he's very even-keel — but he's also very passionate about doing things the right way.

“He cares about people and that really comes through.”

Degeneffe has a wealth of experience within ARPE. He joined the SDSU faculty in 2005 and coordinated the No. 4-ranked Rehabilitation Counseling master’s program from 2010-2019. He currently directs the SDSU Certificate Program in Cognitive Disabilities.

In addition to rehabilitation counseling, ARPE offers a master’s program in Postsecondary Educational Leadership with a Specialization in Student Affairs and an Ed.D. program in Community College Leadership (CCLEAD). Degeneffe has taught courses in both programs, and has chaired and served on the dissertation committees for CCLEAD students. He also served as interim director of ARPE while Sax was on sabbatical in Fall 2019.

“Caren Sax is leaving some big shoes to fill, but I believe Chuck is an outstanding choice to further ARPE’s reputation for excellence,” said Y. Barry Chung, Dean of the College of Education. “He has displayed great leadership in both our Rehabilitation Counseling Program and as interim department chair. I am excited to see him implement his vision for ARPE.”

Degeneffe said that, as chair, he would like to continue the current direction of the department while serving as facilitator to help faculty, staff and students reach their goals. He added that he places particular importance on mentorship and will look to to guide pre-tenure faculty through stages of tenure and promotion, and help ARPE’s associate professors attain promotion to full professor.

“We have incredible researchers, scholars, teachers, staff, students and advocates for equity and social justice,” Degeneffe said. “Being able to lead and work with a department that has such a community-based perspective is very exciting. We're going to continue to grow in a lot of great directions.”