After serving as founding dean of the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s College of Health and Human Services for 11 years, Charles Hardy will leave his position and transition to a faculty role, according to a Wednesday announcement from the school.
Hardy, who joined UNCW in 2011 as founding dean, is looking forward to shifting his focus from executive leadership to the classroom, according to a press release.
“Being part of building a community around health and human services has just been a joy,” Hardy said in the release. “It really doesn’t seem like work. It seems like a purpose, a passion, a calling. We are always focused on our vision of enhancing the health and quality of life of individuals, families and communities in this region.”
Hardy has a 39-year career in higher education, with 28 of those years in a variety of administration roles at UNCW and other institutions.
The College of Health and Human Services (CHHS) was completing its first year when Hardy joined UNCW. Under his leadership, CHHS received awards and achievements, graduated more than 10,000 students, increased from 1,500 student majors to 5,000 and added six degrees. Another notable accomplishment during his time as dean was the construction of the $66 million
, 145,000-square-foot Veterans Hall, which completed the health science quad on campus.
Hardy also led during the COVID-19 pandemic and helped connect the college with the region to meet local needs including partnering with Novant Health New Hanover Regional Medical Center to provide coordination and administer vaccines for community members.
UNCW Chancellor Jose Sartarelli said in the release that when the pandemic emerged, Hardy guided the task force that developed a plan for the university to move forward safely.
“Dean Hardy brings energy, commitment and vision to everything he does, and it shows in the success the College of Health and Human Services has achieved under his leadership,” Sartarelli said in the release.
Prior to UNCW, Hardy worked at Georgia Southern University; served as professor and founding dean of the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health; dean of the Jack N. Averitt College of Graduate Studies and served as assistant and associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill between 1983 and 1994.
Read more about Hardy's origins and achievements in this 2019 story
Provost James Winebrake noted that Hardy’s accomplishments include building and supporting a culture of community engagement within CHHS.
“Dr. Hardy’s laser-focused approach to tackling big challenges has resulted in a college dedicated to educating the next generation of health and human services professionals,” Winebrake said. “His leadership will be greatly missed, but his impact will live on in the transformative educational and research programs within CHHS.”
On July 1, Hardy will begin the process of returning to the classroom and research as a full professor. An internal search for an interim dean for CHHS will be launched soon, under the guidance of Winebrake.
Following the search, the interim dean is slated to begin July 1.
“To have grown up in southeastern North Carolina and be able to come back, lead and make a difference … it’s been incredibly humbling to be a part of the journey,” Hardy said.