Neale R. Chumbler, dean of the College of Health and Human Services at Western Kentucky University, has been named the new dean of the University of North Texas' College of Health and Public Service, or HPS. His appointment will begin July 1.
Chumbler will replace Linda Holloway, former chair and faculty member in the college's Department of Rehabilitation and Health Services, who has served as interim dean since September 2017.
"I'm excited Dean Chumbler is joining UNT and know that we will accomplish great work under his leadership," UNT Provost Jennifer Cowley said. "Our College of Health and Public Service recently was re-envisioned to better serve our students and better align with the important needs of health and public service professions that serve our communities."
Chumbler said he was "struck by the ambition, enthusiasm and pride" in the HPS faculty, staff and students when he visited the college, as well as the college's unique academic disciplines.
"These disciplines not only will help meet the health and public service workforce needs in Texas, but will help shape the next generation of scholars through the novel research performed by health and public service Ph.D. students and the research-active faculty," he said. "The college also provides several excellent undergraduate and graduate programs that integrate service learning. This is important in providing students with an application-based education that betters the community."
Chumbler became dean of the College of Health and Human Services at WKU, where he earned his master's degree in sociology, in March 2015. During his tenure, he developed and implemented a strategic plan to guide the college through 2020 and raised the research and pedagogical profile of the college, despite cutting spending in the college. He also implemented a research incentive program, including a series of workshops on research methods for faculty members, developed a faculty research mentoring program for tenure-eligible assistant professors and created a Dean's Merit Award to recognize faculty and staff for outstanding contributions.
In addition, during his tenure, the amount of extramural research grants and contracts received by college faculty members increased 53 percent, and the number of funded awards increased 18 percent.
Chumbler's research focuses on improving the quality of care for senior citizens with chronic diseases and central nervous system damage. Prior to coming to WKU, he was a faculty member in the University of Georgia's Department of Health Policy and Management and chair and graduate coordinator for the department.
He also served in several administrative positions at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, or IUPUI. Chumbler was chair of IUPUI's Department of Sociology, director of the Institute for Research on Social Issues and interim director of the Survey Research Center. While at IUPUI, he simultaneously served as a research scientist at the Center for Implementing Evidence-based Practice, located at the Indianapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
He was a faculty member in the University of Florida's Department of Health Services Research, Management and Policy and was also a research health scientist at the Gainesville Veterans Administration Medical Center's Rehabilitation Outcomes Research Center.
In addition to his master's degree from WKU, Chumbler received his doctoral degree in sociology from Case Western Reserve University and bachelor's degree in sociology from Murray State University.