Six Universities Announce the Appointments of Women to Dean Positions

Nicole Stedman was appointed dean of the Graduate School at the University of Florida. She is a professor and associate chair in the department of agricultural education and communication in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the university. Dr. Steadman joined the faculty at the University of Florida in 2007 as an assistant professor. Prior to that, she was an assistant professor in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University.

Professor Steadman holds a bachelor’s degree in family, youth, and community sciences, a master’s degree, and a doctorate in agricultural education and communication, all from the University of Florida.

Linda Kean has been appointed interim dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, effective July 1. She is a professor of communication at the university and has served as director of the School of Communication since 2009. Dr. Kean joined ECU’s faculty as an assistant professor in 1998, became an associate professor in 2004, and earned the rank of professor in 2013.

Professor Kean holds a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Illinois. She earned a master’s and a Ph.D. in communication arts from the University of Wisconsin.

Ruth DeFries was appointed co-founding dean of the Columbia Climate School, the first new school at Columbia University in a quarter century. She will continue to hold the titles of University Professor and the Denning Family Professor of Sustainable Development in the department of ecology, evolution and environmental biology. Professor DeFries has been on the Columbia University faculty since 2008.

Professor Defries is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis. She earned a Ph.D. in the department of geography and environmental engineering at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

Jennifer L. West was appointed the fourteenth dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Virginia, effective July 1. She will be the first woman to hold the position. Professor West has been serving as the associate dean for Ph.D. education and the Fitzpatrick Family University Professor in Biomedical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science at the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University.

Dr. West is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She earned a Ph.D. at the University of Texas at Austin.

LaVonda N. Reed has been named dean of the College of Law at Georgia State University. She will be the college’s seventh dean and the first African American to hold the position. Professor Reed has been serving as associate provost for faculty affairs at Syracuse University. She joined the faculty at Syracuse University College of Law in 2006. Her research and teaching are in the areas of wills and trusts, property, and communications regulatory law and policy.

Professor Reed holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Virginia. She earned a juris doctorate from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law.

Deanna Dannels has been named dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at North Carolina State University. Her appointment becomes effective July 1. Since 2015, Dr. Dannels has served as the college’s associate dean of academic affairs and as a professor in the department of communication. She first joined the university’s faculty in 1999.

Professor Dannels holds a bachelor’s degree in communication from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. She earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in communication from the University of Utah.

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