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Meet Fall 2017 Academic Dean John Olienyk

Academic Dean John Olienyk in his office on the MV World Odyssey.

John Olienyk is no stranger to Semester at Sea, or education abroad. After retiring from 37 years of service at Colorado State University, traveling and teaching in over 60 countries and two Semester at Sea Voyages, Olienyk is excited to back onboard as the Fall 2017 Voyage’s Academic Dean.

As Academic Dean, Olienyk has several responsibilities. He has helped facilitate the hiring of the faculty and will oversee all of the academic programs on the ship.

“I feel we have hired well-qualified faculty,” Olienyk said. “They are highly qualified individuals, excellent teachers, and have lots of international experience. Some have sailed before and I think we will all benefit from their experience on previous voyages.”

Olienyk comes to Semester at Sea after his retirement from his role as Associate Dean of the College of Business at CSU. Before that, Olienyk served as a faculty member in the finance department. In the Spring of 1989 and again in the Summer of 2000, he sailed as a faculty member for Semester at Sea.

“It is such a stimulating, rewarding, and exciting experience,” Olienyk said. “Every day brings something new, whether you’re at sea or in port. You have to be prepared for the unexpected, and that’s part of the attraction, not knowing for sure what’s around the corner.”

Dean Olienyk steers students to their cabins during embarkation.

Olienyk possesses a large amount of international experience outside of the voyage that also sparked his decision to sail again. He has taught in Moscow, Russia, and Grenoble, France for an M.B.A program, Vietnam for a Foreign Trade University, and participated in a teaching program for the U.S. agency for International Development in the former Soviet Union. Ultimately, his favorite moments abroad have been with Semester at Sea.

“One of the things that I most appreciated from my previous voyages is the enduring friendships that are developed in an environment where 600 people are living together in close quarters for four months. I am looking forward to interacting closely with a whole new set of people,” Olienyk said.

Besides getting to know students and making new connections, Olienyk is excited for the lineup of field classes this fall.

“We have some very interesting classes with field courses that I think the students will appreciate a lot, so I’m excited to talk to students before and after those,” Olienyk said.

Olienyk will also be working closely with Academic Advisor Cassidy McLaren to support students academically.

“I am going to encourage students to come see us with any questions, problems or concerns they have. I have office hours every day and will be checking in periodically to keep the pulse on what’s happening in the classroom.”

  • Education

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