Executive Bios - Deans
Marietta Baba is the dean of Michigan State University's College of Social Science. Prior to this appointment, Baba was a professor in and chairperson of the Department of Anthropology at Wayne State University. Further, she has served in several senior administrative positions in the Offices of the Provost and Vice President for Research at Wayne State University and as a program director at the National Science Foundation. A prolific and widely published scholar, Baba has concentrated her recent research on the role of information technology in various organizational contexts. Baba is a well respected anthropologist who has extensive experience in the business world and in practical applications of traditional disciplines.
Christopher Brown was appointed dean of the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine in September 2006. No stranger to MSU, Brown served on the College of Veterinary Medicine faculty from 1979 through 1994 in a variety of positions, including head of the Equine Medicine and Surgery Section in the Veterinary Teaching Hospital and acting head of the hospital's Radiology Section. From 1994 to 2002, Brown was professor and chair of the Iowa State University Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences and director of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital. In 2002, he was named chairperson of the Department of Veterinary Clinical Studies at the University of Guelph, Ontario Veterinary College and also was acting director of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital.
Stephen Esquith was appointed dean of the Residential College in Arts and Humanities in fall 2006. Prior to this appointment, he served as chair of the Department of Philosophy from 2000 to 2005. Esquith has been researching ethical problems in developing countries since 1990, when he was a senior Fulbright scholar in Poland. He has also been involved in numerous civic engagement projects in the public schools, including an exchange program between local elementary school children in the United States and schoolchildren in a community school in Kati, Mali. He led a study abroad program focusing on ethical issues in development in Mali in the summers of 2004 and 2006, and he spent the academic year 2005-06 teaching and working with colleagues at the University of Bamako as a senior Fulbright scholar.
In addition to serving as dean of the College of Music, James Forger is a professor of saxophone, an active performing saxophonist, and an award-winning recording artist. He was appointed as director of the School of Music in 1990, and since then the school (now college) has been recognized as a nationally ranked program. Forger is member of the Commission on Accreditation of the National Association of Schools of Music and has served as an evaluator and consultant to music schools and nondegree-granting community music programs across the country. In 1994, he founded a new nondegree-granting division of the College of Music, the Community Music School, which enrolls 1,200 individuals each year. Forger has performed throughout South America, Europe, Asia, and the former Soviet Union. He has been the guest saxophonist in residence at the International Chamber Music Festival of the Mayan Highlands in San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico. He has appeared as soloist with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Warsaw Philharmonic, the Greater Lansing Symphony Orchestra, the Grand Rapids Symphony, and the Sinfonica de Vientos in Tunja, Colombia.
Sherman Garnett is the dean of Michigan State University's James Madison College. Previously, Garnett was a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where he directed projects on security and national identity in the former Soviet Union and Russian-Chinese relations. He worked for more than a dozen years on arms control and post-Communist security policy questions in a variety of positions in the U.S. government, finishing his government service as the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia. Garnett's interests include the former Soviet Union, especially Russian foreign and security policy; Ukraine; and comparative political and security issues for the post-Communist world. His current research interests include contemporary global security problems, political and security trends in Eurasia, and Russian intellectual and literary history.
College of Education
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Donald E. Heller
Donald E. Heller is dean of the Michigan State University College of Education and a professor in the Department of Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education. Prior to his appointment in January 2012, he was a professor in and director of the Center for the Study of Higher Education at Pennsylvania State University. He also held a faculty appointment at the University of Michigan. Heller’s research interests cover educational economics, public policy, and finance, with a primary focus on issues of college access and choice for low-income and minority students. He has consulted on higher education policy issues with university systems and policy-making organizations in several states and has testified in front of congressional committees and state legislatures and in federal court cases as an expert witness. Before his academic career, Heller spent a decade as an information technology manager at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Joan Howarth was appointed dean of the Michigan State University College of Law in July 2008. Previously she was a professor at the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where she was instrumental in building the school and served as an associate dean. She was named the William S. Boyd Professor of Law. Howarth also has been a faculty member at the Golden Gate University School of Law. She was a visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law; University of California Hastings College of Law; and University of California Davis School of Law. Howarth is a leader in legal education, working with the Association of American Law Schools, the American Bar Association and the Society of American Law Teachers.
In addition to serving as dean of Michigan State University’s Honors College, Cynthia Jackson-Elmoore is a professor in the School of Social Work and in the Department of Political Science and maintains an affiliation with the Global Urban Studies Program. Previously, Jackson-Elmoore served as acting assistant dean of the Urban Affairs Program, director of the Urban Studies Graduate Program, and codirector of the Program in Urban Politics and Policy. She was a fellow in the Executive Leadership Academy Program and in the Academic Leadership Program sponsored by the Committee on Institutional Cooperation. Jackson-Elmoore’s research interests include nonprofits and urban politics, healthy communities, and state and local policy. She has published books, articles, and book chapters, as well as monographs, reports, and conference papers.
Leo Kempel, acting dean of the College of Engineering, has been on the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering faculty since 1998 and served as associate dean for research from 2008 to March 2013. He previously served as the inaugural director of the MSU High Performance Computing Center (2004–06) and associate dean for special initiatives (2006–08). His research is in the general area of applied electromagnetics with particular emphasis on conformal antennas, engineered materials, and measurement of electromagnetic properties of materials. He received the National Science Foundation CAREER award and is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers and the Applied Computational Electromagnetics Society. Kempel received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Cincinnati in 1989 and a doctorate from the University of Michigan in 1994.
R. James Kirkpatrick
James Kirkpatrick is dean of Michigan State University's College of Natural Science. He has more than 20 years of experience in college administration and served as executive associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) before joining MSU in 2007. He received his Ph.D. in geology from UIUC in 1972 and has authored more than 200 research publications. His research focuses on the application of high-resolution nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and computational molecular modeling in geochemistry, mineralogy, and materials chemistry.
Stefanie Lenway is dean of the Eli Broad College of Business and Eli Broad Graduate School of Management. Lenway served as dean of the College of Business Administration at the University of Illinois from 2005 to 2010, administrator and faculty member at the University of Minnesota from 1984 to 2005, and faculty member at Washington University in St. Louis from 1981 to 1984. She has served as a consultant to senior managers in international firms such as 3M, Nokia, Applied Materials, and Honeywell on topics such as how businesspeople can build global mindsets and how companies design global innovation strategies. She also has published articles on international business and is the author of two books, including Managing New Industry Creation, which chronicles the evolution of flat screen TV technologies.
Mary Mundt is dean of Michigan State University's College of Nursing. Mundt received her Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from Marquette Univeristy, a master's degree in public health nursing from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and a B.S.N. from Marquette University. Previously, she was dean and professor of the School of Nursing at the University of Louisville and has also served on the boards of several organizations, including the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and the American Cancer Society. Mundt is recognized for her leadership in building university-community partnerships as well as her commitment to education practices and research.
Fred L. Poston
Fred L. Poston is dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and special advisor to the president. Prior to his appointment, Poston served as vice president for finance and operations and treasurer for Michigan State University and as president of the Michigan State University Foundation. Previously, Poston was vice provost and dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, where he guided the $74.2 million Revitalization of Michigan Animal Agriculture project to completion, created the $6.2 million Project GREEEN (Generating Research and Extension to meet Economic and Environmental Needs—a program to revitalize Michigan’s plant agriculture industries), and developed the Partnership for Co-System Research and Management with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Great Lakes Fishery Commission. He also oversaw the construction of seven new facilities and raised more than $47 million for the college.
Marsha Rappley is dean of Michigan State University's College of Human Medicine, having been appointed in September 2006 after serving as the college's acting dean for more than a year. An MSU faculty member since 1988, Rappley is a 1984 graduate of the College of Human Medicine. Prior to serving as acting dean, Rappley was the college's associate dean for academic affairs. Other administrative positions she has held at MSU include interim chairperson of the Department of Pediatrics and Human Development and interim associate dean for academic affairs of the College of Human Medicine. She is recognized nationally for her expertise in problems of learning and behavior in children, especially attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Jeffrey Riedinger was appointed dean of MSU's International Studies and Programs in 2007, having served as the program's acting dean from 2005 to 2007, as director of MSU's Center for Advanced Study of International Development from 2000 to 2007, and as associate dean of International Studies and Programs from 2000 to 2004. He is also a professor in the Department of Community, Agriculture, Recreation, and Resource Studies. His research applies theories of political economy and state-society relations to problems of economic development. Riedinger has worked on issues of rural development, land tenure, and agrarian land reform as well as the role of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in the formulation and implementation of development policies. His research is intended to guide policymaking through applied policy analysis.
Elizabeth H. Simmons
Elizabeth Simmons is dean of the Lyman Briggs College and a professor of physics in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Prior to joining the MSU faculty in summer 2003, she spent ten years as a professor at Boston University. Simmons is a fellow of the American Physical Society and a general member and officer of the Aspen Center for Physics. In 2005, she won the ACE Michigan Network's Distinguished Woman in Higher Education Leadership Award. A particle theorist, her research focuses on the origins of the masses of the elementary subatomic particles, particularly that of the top quark.
In addition to serving as dean of Michigan State University's College of Osteopathic Medicine, William Strampel is a professor of internal medicine. Previously, Strampel served as the college's interim dean and the college's senior associate dean. He also is the lead medical director of MSU HealthTeam. Before coming to MSU, Strampel was a special assistant to the U.S. surgeon general for operations and readiness; he also served as chief medical officer for the Tricare Management Activity and as director of quality management in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Strampel was commander of the Brooke Army Medical Center and Great Plains Regional Medical Command, and was chief of the Quality Assurance Division, Department of the Army, Office of the Surgeon General. He also served in a number of capacities at hospitals in Colorado, Kansas, and Korea.
In addition to serving as dean of Michigan State University’s College of Communication Arts and Sciences, Pamela Whitten is a professor in the Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies, and Media. She began her MSU career in 1998 as an assistant and moved quickly up the ranks to associate professor in 2001 and full professor in 2004. She also has served as a research fellow in the College of Human Medicine, Institute of Health Care Studies (1998–2004), director of the Health Risk and Communication Center (2004–05), and program director of MSU’s Family Research Initiative (2006–07). Prior to coming to MSU, Whitten was on the faculty at the University of Kansas Medical Center, where she launched and administered a telemedicine program for the state of Kansas. Whitten’s research interests have focused mainly on the use of technology in health care, specifically telehealth and telemedicine, and she is interested in using technology to bring health services and education to underserved populations. Whitten earned a bachelor’s degree from Tulane University, a master’s from the University of Kentucky, and doctorate from the University of Kansas.
Karin A. Wurst
Karin A. Wurst is dean of Michigan State University's College of Arts and Letters. Prior to her appointment as dean, Wurst was a professor of German in the Department of Linguistics and Germanic, Slavic, Asian, and African Languages. She served as acting chairperson of the department in 2005 and has been chairperson of the University Graduate Council since 2005. She is a founding member of the Global Literary and Cultural Studies Research Cluster and is recognized nationally for her expertise in graduate student mentoring and engaged learning. She is past president of the Society for German Renaissance and Baroque Literature and active in the American Association of Teachers of German and the Modern Language Association. She joined MSU in 1988. Her research interests include eighteenth- and nineteenth-century German literature and culture.