Five Women Who Are Stepping Down From High-Level Positions in Academia

Ellen Smiley, provost at Grambling State University in Louisiana, has resigned from her leadership post to focus on her role as dean of the Earl Lester Cole Honors College. She first joined Grambling State University in 1991 and has held various administrative and faculty appointments over the course of her career.

Dr. Smiley holds a bachelor’s degree in radio and television communication and a master’s degree in teaching with an emphasis on sociology both from Grambling State University. She earned a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Arkansas-Little Rock.

Barbara A. Schaal, dean of the faculty of Arts & Sciences and the Mary-Dell Chilton Distinguished Professor of Biology at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, has announced that she will step down as dean by the end of the 2019-2020 academic year. She was first appointed dean in 2013 and has been a faculty member since 1980. During her tenure as dean, she relaunched the department of sociology, recruited renowned scholars to join the college’s faculty, strengthened the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and African and African-American Studies programs, and supported the development of an interdisciplinary journal.

A native of Berlin, Germany, Dr. Schaal is an honors graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago where she majored in biology. She holds a master’s degree and Ph.D. both in population biology from Yale University.

Patricia Henry, senior associate director of athletics at Harvard University, will retire on June 30, 2019 after 40 years with the university. In 1981, Henry established the Harvard Radcliffe Foundation for women’s athletics, which provided funding and support for women’s athletics programs. Some of her other notable accomplishments include helping design and construct the Murr Center in 1988, hosting the 2006 NCAA Women’s Basketball Final Four on Harvard’s campus, and launching an initiative in 2018 with Harvard’s Health Services’ Counseling and Mental Health Services to promote student-athlete health. Additionally, she served on the United States Olympic Women’s Rowing Committee, the United States Olympic Education Committee, and as the co-coordinator of the 1984 Olympic soccer matches held on Harvard’s campus.

Henry is a graduate of Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania where she majored in health and physical education. She holds a master’s degree in health and physical education from what is now West Chester University in Pennsylvania.

Sharon Hunt, professor of kinesiology at the University of Arkansas, will retire in May 2019 after 29 years of service in the College of Education and Health Professions. From 1990 to 2011, she served as the head of the department of health science, kinesiology, recreation, and dance. During the 2000-2001 academic year, she served as interim dean for the College of Education and Health Professions. In 2010, Dr. Hunt became the first woman and non-lawyer to be named to the post of faculty athletics representative, a position she held until 2017. Additionally, she was also an advocate for the health, safety, and well-being of student athletes and served as a representative of the University of Arkansas at various Southeastern Conference and NCAA meetings.

Dr. Hunt holds a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree both in physical education from the University of Arkansas. She also holds a doctorate in recreation and leisure studies from the University of Georgia.

Mari Anne Phillips, vice president for student life at Cottey College in Nevada, Missouri, will retire from her position on June 30, 2019. Dr. Phillips started her career in counseling. After serving 12 years in the field, she joined Cottey College as coordinator of counseling. In 1993, she was promoted to dean of student life and later to vice president of student life. In addition to her duties at vice president, Dr. Phillips sponsored the student government association for 26 years, served as co-lead of the college’s International Experience, helped grow the athletics program from three sports to six, and helped lead Cottey College to acceptance into the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.

Dr. Phillips is a graduate of Cottey College. She holds a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Missouri at Columbia.

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