Leadership Appointments

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Leadership Appointments

Wichita State University
President
Dr. Richard Muma
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The Kansas Board of Regents has appointed Dr. Richard Muma as the 15th president of Wichita State University, effective immediately. Dr. Muma has been serving as interim president of Wichita State since September 2020. He has been a cornerstone of the campus community for over 25 years as a professor, department chair, executive vice president and provost, acting president and most recently, interim president. Dr. Muma holds a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from the University of Missouri-St. Louis, a Master of Public Health in Community Health from the University of Texas Science Center-Houston and a BS in Physician Assistant Studies from the University of Texas Medical Branch-Galveston. Read more here.

May 7, 2021
Owens Community College
President
Dr. Dione Dorsey Somerville
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Dr. Dione Dorsey Somerville has been selected as the next president of Owens Community College. Dr. Somerville serves as executive vice president at Hawkeye Community College in Waterloo, Iowa. Prior to Hawkeye, she was vice president for student affairs at Bloomsburg University. Dr. Somerville was dean of students at Iowa State University prior to Bloomsburg. Before beginning at Iowa State, Dr. Somerville served as director of enrollment services at Lorain County Community College. Dr. Somerville earned a doctorate in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania, master’s degree in College Student Personnel from Bowling Green State University, and bachelor’s degree in English/Writing from Ohio Northern University. Dr. Somerville was a Fellow at the Association of Governing Boards Institute for Leadership and Governance in its inaugural year. Dr. Somerville participated in the Harvard University Institute for Education Management and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ Millennium Leadership Institute. Read more here.

May 6, 2021
Bennett College
Vice President for Academic Affairs
Dr. Laura Colson
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Bennett College has appointed Dr. Laura Colson as their new Vice President for Academic Affairs. Dr. Colson is currently serving as the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs for Johnson C. Smith University.  Prior to this position, Dr. Colson served as JCSU’s Dean of the Metropolitan College of Professional Studies. Dr. Colson brings her vast academic and administrative experience at HBCU’s to Bennett’s Senior Leadership team at a time of great transition for the College. She holds an Ed.D. in Curriculum & Instruction from Gardner-Webb University, a Master of Education in Curriculum & Supervision from The University of North Carolina, Charlotte and a BA in Elementary Education from The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Read more here.

May 3, 2021
University of Nebraska at Omaha
Chancellor
Dr. Joanne Li
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The University of Nebraska Board of Regents unanimously confirmed Joanne Li, Ph.D., CFA, as the 16th chancellor of the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Dr. Li, currently the dean of the College of Business at Florida International University, will begin transition work as UNO chancellor-elect on June 1, 2021, and will assume the role of chancellor on July 1. She will become the first woman of color to serve as UNO chancellor and the first Asian-American in the history of the University of Nebraska system to hold an executive leadership role. In addition to serving as dean, Dr. Li also is professor of finance and Ryder Eminent Scholar Chair in Business at Florida International University. A first-generation college student who went on to graduate summa cum laude, Li will bring to UNO 15 years of progressive leadership experience in higher education. Dr. Li holds bachelor’s and doctoral degrees in finance from Florida State University. She has previously served at Wright State University, Towson University and Loyola University of Maryland. Read more here.

May 3, 2021
University of Iowa
President
Dr. Barbara J. Wilson
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The Board of Regents, State of Iowa, has announced Dr. Barbara J. Wilson as the 22nd President of the University of Iowa. Dr. Wilson brings extensive leadership experience to her role as UI President. Since 2016, she has served as Executive Vice President and Vice President for Academic Affairs for the University of Illinois System, which enrolls more than 90,000 students across three main campuses and includes a 462-bed hospital. Before that, she served one year as Interim Chancellor for the Urbana-Champaign campus, a top-ranked land-grant research institution with more than 45,000 students and nearly 2,000 tenure-track faculty. A native of Appleton, Wisconsin, Wilson earned a B.A. in Journalism, an M.A. in Communication Arts, and a Ph.D. in Communication Arts, all from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Read more here.
Apr 30, 2021
Fairleigh Dickinson University
Senior Vice President for University Operations
Dr. Robert Pignatello
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Dr. Robert Pignatello has been appointed Senior Vice President for University Operations at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Dr. Pignatello is currently the Senior Advisor to the Chancellor of the Pennsylvania System of Higher Education for Integration Strategy. Previously, he was the President of Lock Haven University, Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. Before assuming a presidency, he was Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration and Chief Operation Officer at Hunter College (CUNY).  He also served in a similar position at John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY). He holds a Ed.D. in Higher Education Leadership and Management from Saint Peter’s University, a Master’s of Public Administration from Rutgers University, and a BA in Political Science and Public Administration from Montclair State University. Dr. Pignatello will begin at FDU on June 1, 2021. Read More Here.

Apr 30, 2021
Nevada State College
President
Dr. DeRionne Pollard
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Nevada State College has chosen Dr. DeRionne Pollard as their next President. Dr. Pollard is currently the President of Montgomery College, the largest Community College in Maryland, where she has served since 2010.  Prior to being named president of Montgomery College, she served as the administrative and instructional president of Las Positas College in California. Dr. Pollard earned a bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University in 1993, a master’s degree in English from Iowa State University in 1995, and a Ph.D., with a specialization in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, from Loyola University in 2005. Read more here.
Apr 30, 2021
Williston State College
President
Dr. Bernell Hirning
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The North Dakota State Board of Higher Education has named Dr. Bernell Hirning as the next president of Williston State College. Dr. Hirning most recently served as Associate Regional Dean and Regional Associate Vice President for National University, the second largest private, non-profit university in California. He started as a lead campus administrator for the Redding Campus in Northern California. After successfully growing that campus, he relocated to Central California to lead campuses in Fresno, Bakersfield, and Porterville. With successful growth at those locations, he was promoted to Regional Associate Vice President, overseeing operations for ten regional campuses across a 44-county area in central and northern California, through onsite and online instruction. Dr. Hirning was born, raised, and educated in North Dakota. He holds a Ph.D. from Capella University, a Master's and Bachelor’s degree from Minot State University, and an Associate degree from Williston State College (formerly UND-Williston).  Read more here.
Apr 29, 2021
University of Houston - Downtown
Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs
Dr. Sheila Lloyd
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The University of Houston - Downtown has also announced the appointment of Dr. Sheila Lloyd as its new Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs. She will officially assume this role on June 1, 2021. Dr. Lloyd, currently serving as the Associate Provost for Teaching, Learning and Faculty Affairs, the Director of the Center for Faculty Excellence and a Professor of English for Mills College, will apply her years of administrative experience in helping to advance the strategic planning and diversity initiatives of UHD. She holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in English Literature from Cornell University and a B.A. in English Literature from Yale University. Read more here.

Apr 9, 2021