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Liberty News

Provost announces new deans

October 9, 2014 : Liberty University News Service

Dr. Ronald S. Godwin, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost for Liberty University, with the approval of President Jerry Falwell, has appointed several individuals to positions of academic leadership in the university.

Angela Rice
Angela Rice

With the retirement of Marcy Pride from the Jerry Falwell Library, Angela Rice has been appointed the new dean. Rice holds a Master of Library Science degree from Syracuse University and has served at the library for the past two years, most recently as associate dean for planning, administration, and operations. Since its opening 10 months ago, the 170,000-square-foot Jerry Falwell Library has benefitted both the Liberty academic community and the Central Virginia region. Largely due to the pioneering leadership of Dean Marcy Pride, Rice is assuming responsibility for one of the nation’s most innovative academic libraries, offering a 24-by-11 foot media wall, a robotic delivery system, a four-story book tower, special meeting rooms, food services, and an abundance of study space.

Rice said she looks forward to leading the library as it continues along the extraordinary trajectory set by Pride. “Moving into this building was a historic accomplishment, but even if you take this facility out of the picture, the learning initiatives that have been implemented are also world class; the technology that’s available to students, faculty, and the public, and the creative efforts to get the university involved in using the new library, has been very successful,” she said. “Liberty University as a whole is a miracle in progress, and we at the Jerry Falwell Library are privileged to serve here.”

Dr. Dea Britt
Dr. Dea Britt

The Provost has also announced that the School of Nursing, which until now has been called the Department of Nursing, will see Dr. Dea Britt, Ph.D., promoted from department chair to dean. Dr. Britt has been with the university for more than 20 years and has witnessed the program’s tremendous growth. It now offers bachelor’s through doctoral degrees and boasts nearly 4,000 on-campus and online students.

Liberty’s nursing program is one of the most comprehensive in its class and will be the largest School of Nursing in the state of Virginia. Liberty’s nursing graduates are highly sought after not only for the quality of their clinical training (Liberty requires over 900 hours of hands-on experience compared with 800 hours at other schools), but also for their high levels of professionalism and Christ-like compassion. The School of Nursing’s commitment to practical skill development and the highest standards of academic rigor speak for themselves — Liberty graduates have a 95 percent passage rate on state nursing board exams for first-time test-takers. In addition to the promotion of Dr. Britt to dean, five nursing directors will also be promoted to the rank of department chair. “They’ll be responsible for their own programs, for growing them, and making them centers of excellence,” Britt said. “It will give us the opportunity to come up with new programs and new ways to excel — that’s exciting to me.”

Dr. Ronald Hawkins
Dr. Ronald Hawkins

To accommodate the number of students studying in three of Liberty’s top declared majors — psychology, counseling, and sociology — these three educational sub-divisions will now reside inside a new School of Behavioral Sciences. The school will encompass all psychology, sociology, human services, clinical counseling, and pastoral counseling programs. Approximately 40,000 students are currently enrolled in courses that will fall within the purview of the School of Behavioral Sciences, which will soon offer a number of applied undergraduate and graduate degree tracks, including social work. A new doctoral degree in pastoral counseling is also actively being planned. Liberty’s Master’s in Clinical Health Counseling program is currently being submitted to CACREP for accreditation.

Dr. Ronald Hawkins will serve as dean of the new School of Behavioral Sciences, providing leadership for nearly 600 experienced residential and online faculty members. He will also continue to serve as Liberty’s vice provost and vice president for academic affairs. Hawkins, who has also previously served as dean of Liberty’s School of Arts and Sciences (now the College of Arts and Sciences), is confident that the new school will continue to enjoy dramatic growth and success.

Dr. Ralph Linstra
Dr. Ralph Linstra

“Psychology, Counseling, and Sociology are very mature divisions,” he said. “Each of them enjoys very good leadership and academically superior faculties. I’m looking forward to working with them.”

Dr. Ralph Linstra will continue to serve as dean of the School of Health Sciences, as the school moves toward a new configuration that is anticipated to include biology and chemistry, public health, exercise science, kinesiology, and health professions.

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