From left: Deans Tara Kishbaugh, David Brubaker and Sue Cockley will lead Eastern Mennonite University's new three-school academic structure. The design, developed after several years of study and discussion, will enhance opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration and will streamline undergraduate-graduate tracks, among other objectives. (Photo by Macson McGuigan)

EMU names new academic deans

Eastern Mennonite University has named long-time campus leaders to three new academic dean positions, effective July 1.

David Brubaker, Sue Cockley and Tara Kishbaugh now each lead one of three schools as part of EMU’s new academic structure.  The design, developed after a year of study and discussion, will enhance opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration and will streamline undergraduate-graduate tracks, among other objectives. It is being phased in and will be fully implemented by the start of the fall 2020 semester.

“I am so pleased that leaders of this caliber were willing to step up to serve as inaugural deans in our new academic structure. They will help to ensure its success, and I am looking forward to working with them as an academic leadership team,” said Provost Fred Kniss.

Administration of Eastern Mennonite Seminary will be housed within the School of Theology, Humanities and the Performing Arts, and will retain its independent identity and brand, Kniss noted.

The appointment of the three new academic deans coincides with the addition of a new dean of students position, responsible for the co-curricular aspects of learning and living on campus. In July, Shannon W. Dycus, was appointed to this role. Among her responsibilities is supervision of student life operations and various directors.

Long records of EMU service

Brubaker, dean of the School of Social Sciences and Professions, has directed and taught in EMU’s MBA and MA in Organizational Leadership programs. In addition to various other roles since beginning at EMU in 2004, he has been a practicum director, academic director and member of the leadership team for the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, as well as Faculty Senate co-president and vice president and faculty sustainability task force co-chair.

In prior years he served with various community development and conflict transformation organizations, including as associate director of Mennonite Conciliation Service and assistant director of Mennonite Central Committee’s Brazil program. He has authored numerous books and articles, and has independently trained or consulted with over 100 organizations on six continents. 

Cockley, dean of the School of Theology, Humanities and Performing Arts, has served at EMU since 1996. She has directed the adult degree completion and MA in Organizational Leadership programs, and has been dean of Eastern Mennonite Seminary and of graduate and professional studies. She will continue as seminary dean.

Previously she was an adult education specialist and director of the adult educator’s research network for the Virginia Department of Education, designed community education projects in Haiti and Kentucky for Mennonite Central Committee, served as a national trainer for Literacy Volunteers of America, and volunteered in basic adult education in West Virginia with VISTA. 

At EMU since January 2004, Kishbaugh, dean of the School of Sciences, Engineering, Art and Nursing, has chaired EMU’s biology and chemistry departments since 2013. An organic chemist, she has taught  chemistry courses and seminars on ethics, land use and food chemistry. In addition to various committee and council roles at EMU, she has served on undergraduate council executive and chaired the pre-professional health services and intellectual life committees. 

She has received multiple honors, awards and grants, and has organized and offered a variety of chemistry symposiums and workshops.

Discussion on “EMU names new academic deans

  1. I want to be on record voicing my overwhelming approval of the appointments of the three new deans. Well chosen, EMU!

  2. This reminds me of the year I together with two other persons served as Associate Deans, in 1976-77. It worked well then and I hope it works well now.

  3. Congratulations David for the well-deserved position of the dean of the School of Social Sciences and Professions. You are up to the task and may you be guided by God’s wisdom as you move EMU to the next level. Be blessed.

  4. Like Willard, this reminds me of another time. In 1980, we began to shake up the administrative structure when we also had 3 new appointments-Me as Academic Provost and Graduate Dean (later the “academic” in front of provost was dropped), Marie as Undergraduate Dean, and Ervin as Seminary Dean. Not until I left the position did we get a Graduate Dean. Congratulations and best wishes to each of you as you take this next step as deans of schools.

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