What does it mean to be an academic leader in the most competitive higher education market in the United States? It takes expertise, discipline, strategy, collaboration, skill, and a passion for learning.
Interim Dean Val Leiter
College of Social Sciences, Policy, and Practice
Dr. Val Leiter is the Dean of College of Social Sciences, Policy, and Practice. Interim Dean Leiter teaches courses on medical sociology, research methods, food, drugs, and epidemiology—these topics dovetail with her research on children and youth with disabilities, medicalization, medical devices, and gender and health. She has received multiple teaching awards, most recently, the Toby Sloane Award for Undergraduate Teaching in 2019 and the Simmons College Dean’s Award for Exceptional Undergraduate Advising in 2010.
Interim Dean Sanda Erdelez
College of Organizational, Computational, and Information Sciences
Dr. Sanda Erdelez is a Professor and Interim Dean of the College of Organizational, Computational and Information Sciences. She received her LL.B. and LL.M degrees from the University of Osijek Law School (Croatia) and Ph.D. in information transfer from Syracuse University. She was also a faculty member at the University of Missouri, University of Texas at Austin and University of Osijek. Dr. Erdelez is a former Fulbright Scholar and recipient of The Texas Excellence Teaching Award and The ALISE Pratt-Severn Faculty Innovation Award. Her research interests include human information behavior, human-computer interaction and usability evaluation in online environments. She has been internationally recognized for her pioneering research in the areas of information encountering and opportunistic discovery of information. Her research has received funding from both corporate and government sources including Dell Inc., SBC Communication, Texas State Government, and NSF. She is an active member of the Association for Information Science & Technology (ASIS&T), where she has served in numerous leadership roles including the chair of Special Interest Group on Information Seeking and Use (SIG USE) and member of the ASIS&T Board of Directors. In 2015, Dr. Erdelez received the Outstanding Contribution to Information Behavior Research Award from SIG USE and also became a member of the SIG USE Academy of Fellows.
Interim Dean Diane Grossman
Gwen Ifill College of Media, Arts, and Humanities
Diane Grossman is the Interim Dean of the Ifill College. Diane received her Ph.D. in Philosophy from New York University, where she was an Ida Parker Bowne Scholar. She is a Professor of Women's & Gender Studies and Philosophy, Chair of the Philosophy Department, and Director of the Honors Program. Grossman has served Simmons as Chair of both departments, as Director of Academic Advising, and as Associate Dean and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. She is the author of Existentialism and the Philosophical Tradition, Looking at Gay and Lesbian Life, and numerous articles and essays on ethics, feminist theory, and cultural studies. Her areas of specialization are Continental philosophy, feminist theory and applied ethics.
Dean Lepaine Sharp-McHenry
College of Natural, Behavioral, and Health Sciences
Dr. Lepaine Sharp-McHenry is the Dean of the College of Natural, Behavioral, and Health Sciences. In her new position, Dr. Sharp-McHenry will lead faculty in promoting and strengthening innovative teaching and engaged learning, build a culture of research and scholarly productivity, enhance programs within and across disciplines both inside CNBHS and in partnership with other deans across the university, and work to cultivate innovative practices and procedures required to advance the world’s scientific future and save lives. CNBHS encompasses the Departments of Behavioral Analysis, Biology, Chemistry & Physics, Nutrition, Physical Therapy, and Psychology, and houses Simmons’ nationally recognized School of Nursing. Prior to her role at Simmons, Dr. Sharp-McHenry has served as Dean of the College of Nursing at Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, OK. Prior to that, she was at the University of Arkansas for 15 years, first as a faculty member and later as the Assistant Director of the Eleanor Mann School of Nursing. Nationally, she has served on the Board of Directors of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and as a site visitor on accreditation teams for the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). She has also received official recognitions of her expertise at a state level, including several appointments by the Governor of the State of Arkansas.