Colleges and Universities Announce the Appointment of Eight Women to Dean Positions

Paula Song was named interim dean of the College of Health Professions at Virginia Commonwealth University. She is the Richard M. Bracken Chair and professor of health administration in the College of Health Professions. Professor Song joined the faculty in 2020, after serving as program director for the residential master’s program in the department of health policy and management at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dr. Song earned a bachelor’s degree in the biological basis of behavior from the University of Pennsylvania. She earned two master’s degrees and a Ph.D. in health services organization and policy at the University of Michigan.

Donna Riley is the new Jim and Ellen King Dean of Engineering and Computing at the University of New Mexico. She is the 22nd — and first female — dean of the School of Engineering, which was founded in 1906. Dr. Riley also holds the rank of professor in the department of civil, construction, and environmental engineering at the university. She was the Kamyar Haghighi Head and professor in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. Earlier, Dr. Riley was a founding faculty member of the Picker Engineering Program at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, the first engineering program at a U.S. women’s college. She is the author of Engineering and Social Justice (Morgan and Claypool Publishers, 2008).

Dr. Riley holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from what is now the Missouri University of Science and Technology. She holds a Ph.D. in engineering and public policy from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

Denise Taliaferro Baszile has been selected to serve as the next dean of the College of Education at Wayne State University in Detroit. She will take office on July 1. Dr. Taliaferro Baszile comes to Wayne State from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where she currently serves as a professor of curriculum and cultural studies and associate dean for diversity and student services in the College of Education, Health, and Society. She is the co-editor of Black Women Theorizing Curriculum Studies in Colour and Curves (2020).

Dr. Taliaferro Baszile is a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles, where she majored in communications studies. She earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from Louisiana State University.

Cathy L. Z. DuBois will be the next dean of the Miller College of Business at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, effective July 1. Dr. DuBois joins Ball State after a career at the Ambassador Crawford College of Business and Entrepreneurship at Kent State University in Ohio, where she most recently served as associate dean for graduate and online programs. She taught at Kent State for the past two decades.

Dr. DuBois earned a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Texas. She earned a doctorate in industrial relations and human resource management from the University of Minnesota.

Kim Litwack, currently the dean of the College of Nursing at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, will be dean of the College of Health Professions & Sciences, which brings together the School of Nursing with three departments currently part of the School of Health Sciences. The new college will include a School of Biomedical Sciences and Health Care Administration, and a School of Rehabilitation Sciences and Technology.

Dr. Litwack is a graduate of the University of Michigan, where she majored in psychology. She holds a master’s degree in medical surgical nursing from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and a Ph.D. in educational administration from Kent State University in Ohio.

Lynn M. Linder was officially named vice president of academic affairs and dean of the faculty at West Virginia Wesleyan College. Dr. Linder came to West Virginia Wesleyan College in 2014 and has taught British literature, literary theory, and gender studies as an associate professor in the English department.

Dr. Linder is a graduate of the University of Missouri, where she majored in English and history. She holds a master’s degree in English and a Ph.D. in English literature from Saint Louis University.

Viola L. Acoff has been named dean of the University of Mississippi School of Engineering. When she takes office on July 1, Dr. Acoff will be the first female and first African American to serve in this position. Since 2014, she has been the associate dean for undergraduate and graduate programs at the University of Alabama.

Dr. Acoff earned her bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in materials engineering from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

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