A Half Dozen Women Who Have Been Selected to Serve as Deans

Verna L. Williams was appointed dean of the College of Law at the University of Cincinnati in Ohio. She has been serving as interim dean since May 2017. She also holds the title of Nippert Professor of Law. Professor Williams joined the faculty at the University of Cincinnati College of Law in 2001. She served as the co-director of the university’s joint degree program in law and women’s studies.

Before joining the faculty at the law school, Professor Williams was vice president and director of educational opportunities at the National Women’s Law Center. She is a graduate of Georgetown University, where she majored in Spanish, and Harvard Law School.

Melanie Stein has been named dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences at Ithaca College in New York. She currently serves as dean of academic affairs and professor of mathematics at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.

A native of Ithaca, New York, Dr. Stein holds a master’s degree and Ph.D. both in mathematics from Cornell University.

Denise Rush has been named dean of interior architecture at Boston Architectural College. She has served as interim dean since 2018. She first joined the faculty at the college in 2013 as the first-ever director of undergraduate interior design.

Rush is a graduate of Michigan State University where she majored in interior design. She holds a master’s degree in nonprofit management from the Spertus Institute of Jewish Learning and Leadership in Chicago, Illinois.

Alexis Abramson has been named dean of the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. She currently serves as the Milton and Tamar Maltz Professor of Energy Innovation and co-director of the Great Lakes Energy Institute at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. She will be the second woman to serve as Thayer’s dean.

Dr. Abramson holds three degrees in mechanical engineering. She earned her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from Tufts University in Massachusetts and her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.

Janis Terpenny has been named to the Wayne T. Davis Endowed Dean’s Chair and appointed dean of the Tickle College of Engineering at the University of Tennessee. She currently serves as the Peter and Angela Dal Pezzo Chair and head of the department of industrial and manufacturing engineering at Pennsylvania State University. She has been at Penn State since 2015. Professor Terpenney also serves as director of the Center for e-Design, a National Science Foundation Industry-University Cooperative Research Center.

Dr. Terpenny is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University where she majored in mathematical sciences. She holds a master’s degree and Ph.D. in industrial and systems engineering from Virginia Tech.

Beth McNeil has been named dean of Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies. She currently serves as a professor and dean of library services at Iowa State University.

Dr. McNeil holds a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in library and information science from the University of Illinois. She earned a Ph.D. in human sciences with a focus on leadership studies from the University of Nebraska.

Filed Under: AppointmentsLeadershipProfessional Schools


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