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Simmons Appoints Four Deans

The move is a key development in plans to launch four new colleges this fall.

In April, Provost and Senior Vice President Katie Conboy announced the appointment of four “inaugural deans” to lead the four new Colleges to be launched in September, marking the culmination of an academic redesign initiative that began in 2015.

“The dean searches provided remarkable external validation for our redesign project,” said Conboy, who oversaw the searches and has led the redesign project, which included input from alumnae/i, students, faculty, and staff. “The pool of candidates was rich, deep, and diverse, and so many applicants gave us back an enriched version of our own aspirations in their enthusiastic visionings.”

“Simmons will be organized in a way that builds on and further enhances our proven strengths, and thereby makes them clear and compelling in today’s highly competitive higher-education marketplace.” —Provost and Senior Vice President Katie Conboy

Dr. Judy Beal is the inaugural dean of the College of Natural, Behavioral, and Health Sciences. She has served as a professor of nursing for 35 years and as dean of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences at Simmons since 2011.

Dr. Stephanie Berzin is the inaugural dean of the College of Social Sciences, Policy, and Practice. She is currently assistant dean for the doctoral program and associate professor in the School of Social Work at Boston College.

Dr. Marie desJardins is the inaugural dean of the College of Organizational, Computational, and Information Sciences. She is currently associate dean of academic affairs in the College of Engineering and Information Technology, and professor in the Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Dr. Brian Norman is the inaugural Dean of the Gwen Ifill College of Media, Arts, and Humanities. He is a professor and scholar of American and African American literature, professor of English, and academic administrator who most recently served as associate vice president of faculty affairs and diversity at Loyola University in Baltimore, MD.

Under the redesign, all academic programs will be clustered in the four new colleges, within which existing Simmons schools will retain their names. The new structure is designed promote interdisciplinary and inter-professional study and collaboration.

“Simmons will be organized in a way that builds on and further enhances our proven strengths, and thereby makes them clear and compelling in today’s highly competitive higher-education marketplace,” said Conboy, adding that “the professions can change, but what will never change is our commitment to ensuring that our students leave here prepared to excel in an ever-changing world.”