Following a national search, three finalists have been selected as candidates for dean of the new UALR College of Arts, Letters, and Sciences.
The finalists include Shearle Furnish of Youngstown State University in Ohio; Johnny Payne of the University of Alaska Fairbanks; and Daniel Suson of Purdue University Calumet in Hammond, Ind.
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Zulma Toro appointed Paula Casey, interim vice provost and dean of the UALR Graduate School, to lead the campus search committee. Academic Search, a subsidiary of The American Academic Leadership Institute, assisted with the national search.
Furnish, founding and current dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at Youngstown State University, was instrumental in the reorganization of the college in 2007. Under his leadership, the college added the master’s program in Applied Behavior Analysis and the first bachelor’s and now master’s program in gerontology. His campus interviews will be May 8 and 9.
He received a master’s degree in 1978 and doctorate in 1984 in English literature from the University of Kentucky in Lexington and a bachelor’s degree in 1975 in English literature from Transylvania University in Lexington.
Payne, an English professor in the College of Liberal Arts (CLA) at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, served as CLA dean from 2011-12. The focus of his career has been in program foundation and development for bilingual education. He previously served a combined nine years as department chair of the Department of Creative Writing and assistant dean of special projects at the University of Texas at El Paso. His campus interviews will be May 6 and 7.
He received a doctorate in English and comparative literature in 1990 from Stanford University; a master’s degree in creative writing in 1986 from the University of Alabama; and a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from Indiana University.
Suson has served the Chemistry and Physics Department at Purdue University Calumet (PUC) in Hammond, Ind., as acting head, then interim head, since September 2011. He was dean of the School of Engineering, Mathematics, and Science at PUC for three years prior to his 2011 appointment. As department head, he provided oversight of revisions to chemistry and physics plans of study to conform to new general education and semester credit hour requirements. His campus interviews will be April 29 and 30.
He received his M.S. and Ph.D. in physics from 1984 to 1989 at the University of Texas at Dallas and a bachelor’s degree in physics and mathematics in 1984 from the University of Colorado.
The College of Arts, Letters, and Sciences is the culmination of an extensive restructuring process at UALR to realign academic resources to best serve the state and region. By melding the classic arts and letters disciplines with science programs, the college will be the academic centerpiece of the campus. Academic departments in the new college will include art; biology; chemistry; English; history; international studies and second languages; mathematics and statistics; music; theatre and dance; philosophy and interdisciplinary studies; and physics.