Reidhead named new dean for Social and Behavioral Sciences
Posted: 07/07/2005
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Dr. Van A. Reidhead, associate professor of anthropology and education at the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL), has been named the new dean for the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at The University of Texas-Pan American.

Reidhead, who officially begins his duties Aug.1 after 29 years at UMSL, replaces Dr. George Avellano, associate vice president for Academic Affairs, who served as interim dean.

Dr. Van A. Reidhead
"My aim is to lead the college in securing consistent, distinguished levels of achievement in teaching and learning, research and community partnerships, while building a model environment for shared decision making and work," Reidhead said. "I think the greatest challenge and opportunity facing us is how to build the college into a robust research institution in which faculty research is truly a springboard for student careers, community development, and career-long growth for faculty and staff."

Reidhead said the first thing he plans to do upon arrival is schedule a series of mutual learning sessions, starting with the faculty, staff, student leadership groups, followed by grassroots college and department groups.

"These meetings will be opportunities for me to learn about the needs and conditions that exist throughout the college and start getting acquainted with its students, staff and faculty community," he said. "This will also give us an opportunity to begin a conversation about ideas and visions for the departments and the college."

The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences is composed of the departments of criminal justice, military science, political science, psychology, anthropology, sociology and public administration.

Dr. Rodolfo Arévalo, vice president/provost for Academic Affairs, said he is certain Reidhead will be an asset to the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and the University.

"Dr. Reidhead brings a strong background in program development and extensive experience in working with faculty groups in the implementation of critical faculty policies," Arévalo said. "He has a very impressive research record as an anthropologist and involvement in community activities. He also has excellent experience as a department chair and an understanding of higher education administration that should assist the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. His organizational skills will prove very valuable to the college as it continues to grow and begins implementation of more graduate programs."

Reidhead received a bachelor's in communication from Brigham Young University in 1971 and both a master's and doctorate in anthropology from Indiana University-Bloomington in 1974 and 1976 respectively. His current research includes the Holy Trinity Abbey Ethnography and joint research with Mary Ann Reidhead, his wife, about religious conversion, as well as the Spiritual Integration Measurement Project, which assesses the relationship between spiritual practice and health.

Reidhead is the recent recipient of the 2005 Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Service which recognizes one outstanding academic, humanitarian, or professional service faculty member at UMSL.

Additionally he was chair of the Department of Anthropology at UMSL for 14 years, chair of the UMSL Faculty Senate and University Assembly from 2002-2004, developed student scholarships and distance learning/video courses, and was instrumental in the creation of a master's program in museum studies - a joint program between UMSL's anthropology and history departments.