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Hendrix Names New Leaders for Odyssey Program and Engaged Learning

CONWAY, Ark. (April 12, 2022) — Hendrix College chemistry professor Dr. Bill Gunderson was recently named Director of the Hendrix Odyssey Program. Gunderson succeeds politics professor Dr. Kiril Kolev, who will become the College’s new Associate Provost for Engaged Learning. Both appointments are effective June 1.

“We are excited to have Dr. Gunderson lead this critical program,” said Hendrix Provost Dr. Terri Bonebright. “He has done great things with the students and general chemistry curriculum, and he’s looking forward to collaborating with faculty and staff to enhance engaged learning across the College.”

Gunderson has served on the Committee for Engaged Learning (CEL) for the past two years, learning how Odyssey proposals are reviewed and funded, as well as how courses are reviewed and coded for Odyssey credit, Bonebright added. 

Gunderson’s priorities include identifying ways to make the Odyssey program more accessible to all Hendrix students, provide leadership for the development of assessable learning goals for the Odyssey Program, develop programming that encourages current students to complete Odyssey projects, and elevate the visibility of the Odyssey Program to prospective students and parents.

“One of the strengths of the Odyssey Program is that it supports experiential learning opportunities that are inclusive of many different ways of knowing,” Gunderson said. “As Odyssey Director, I will work with faculty from all areas of the College to ensure that this important strength of the program is maintained as changes are considered. I look forward to using my experience to help guide the Odyssey Program forward in the coming years.”

Gunderson earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from Allegheny College and his Ph.D. in chemistry from Carnegie Mellon University.

KirilKolev2019-1306final_web.jpgBeginning June 1, Dr. Kiril Kolev will serve as Associate Provost for Engaged Learning. Kolev has led the Hendrix Odyssey Program since 2019. After graduating from Whittier College with a degree in economics, he earned his Master of Science and Ph.D. in comparative politics at Duke University. He has taught courses on political economy, democratization, elections, research methods, and contemporary global issues. He has held the James and Emily Bost Odyssey Professorship, which funded his recent research on election quality, electoral systems, and political clientelism.

“Engaged learning is among the most exciting aspects of being a student, faculty, or staff member at Hendrix,” said Kolev, who joined the Hendrix College Department of Politics in 2011. “Engaged learning experiences stimulate creativity, encourage reflection, and develop a long-lasting sense of ownership and exploration of one’s academic and vocational pursuits. It facilitates the out-of-the-box thinking that today’s society really needs.”

About Hendrix College

A private liberal arts college in Conway, Arkansas, Hendrix College consistently earns recognition as one of the country’s leading liberal arts institutions, and is featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges. Its academic quality and rigor, innovation, and value have established Hendrix as a fixture in numerous college guides, lists, and rankings. Founded in 1876, Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. To learn more, visit