CSU Hires College of Education and Health Professions Dean

Dr. Barbara BucknerCOLUMBUS, Ga. – Columbus State University today announced the hiring of a longtime education professor, now serving as a university-wide administrator, to become the next dean of CSU’s College of Education and Health Professions.

Barbara Buckner, right, associate provost at Coastal Carolina University, will assume the position July 1, said Tom Hackett, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs at Columbus State.

“Dr. Buckner has sterling credentials and a unique understanding of issues facing education in the current global economic environment,” Hackett said. “It became clear from our conversations that she has a vision in terms of how the field of education can be a leader in addressing these issues.”

Buckner was hired after she visited Columbus State Nov. 29-30 as a dean finalist for a series of interviews, an informal “meet and greet,” and a presentation to COEHP faculty.

All departments and centers in the college had faculty serving on a 20-member search committee, which also included an undergraduate from nursing, a graduate student from teacher education and a couple of COEHP community stakeholders. Atlanta-based Parker Executive Search presented 31 applications resulting from national advertising, and the committee then conducted video conference interviews with nine top applicants.

Buckner has been at 8,700-student Coastal Carolina University in Conway, S.C., since 2005, first serving as associate dean of its education college. She became associate provost for assessment and accreditation in mid-2007. In both roles, she worked closely with accrediting bodies: the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education on behalf of the education college, and then the Southern Association for Colleges and Schools on behalf of the university.

Buckner’s “tremendous amount of experience in accreditation compliance” will be particularly valuable as Columbus State begins working soon toward regularly rescheduled reaccreditation of its teacher education programs, Hackett said.

Before joining Coastal Carolina, Buckner was an education professor at Longwood University in Farmville, Va., spending her final year as interim associate dean of Longwood’s College of Education and Human Services. She began her higher education career at Clarion University of Pennsylvania, serving there from 1988-2000.

A former elementary and middle school teacher, Buckner earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Ohio State University, a master’s in science education from Clarion and an elementary education doctorate from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Scholarly journals have published Buckner’s articles related to accreditation, reading, student performance and educational leadership. She has also presented her research at more than 50 statewide, regional and national conferences. She’s been awarded grants related to curriculum design and the development of reading tutorial programs.

In announcing Buckner’s hiring, Hackett praised the work of the search committee and Interim Dean Ellen Roberts, a longtime physical education professor and associate dean, who will continue to lead the college until July.

“Her leadership during a time of transition for the COEHP has embodied the highest traditions of selfless servant leadership,” Hackett said. “I continue to value her steady dedication to the mission of the college and university and her valuable advice and counsel.”

Jan  Burcham, CSU’s Moselle Worsley Fletcher Distinguished Chair in Teacher Education, led the search committee. “From the initial review of the applicant pool through the videoconference interviews to the on-campus interview phase, the search was in all ways outstanding,” Hackett said.

Columbus State’s new dean of the College of Education and Health Professions will replace David Rock, who resigned last summer to become dean of education school at the University of Mississippi. He had earlier been an education professor at Ole Miss.