Handel, McAlister named deans at Northwestern State

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Dr. Greg Handel has been named Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern State University and Dr. Kimberly McAlister has been named Dean of the College of Education and Human Development, according to Dr. Vickie Gentry, interim provost and vice president of academic affairs. The appointments have been approved by the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System.

Handel will have academic and fiscal responsibility and control of the Mrs. H.D. Dear Sr. and Alice E. Dear School of Creative and Performing Arts, the Departments of Biological Sciences, Criminal Justice, History and Social Sciences, English, Foreign Languages and Cultural Studies and the Louisiana Scholars’ College.

“Northwestern State will be a better university with the leadership of its new deans, Dr. Handel and Dr. McAlister,” said Gentry. “Both are exemplary leaders in K-16 education and well-respected by their colleagues in Louisiana and beyond. They are compassionate, caring professionals who will positively impact student recruitment, retention, and learning. We are very pleased with the search committee’s recommendations and look forward to working with them in the years ahead.”

Handel has been interim dean since July 2016. He has been director of the School of Creative and Performing Arts since 2014 after eight months as acting director. Handel joined NSU’s faculty in 2008.

“I am honored to serve the College of Arts and Sciences as its permanent Dean, and I look forward to working with directors, department chairs, faculty and staff as we look at ways the college can serve the university and its students and support the strategic vision,” said Handel. “The liberal arts and sciences has tremendous potential to stimulate students intellectually, and to foster creativity and curiosity across disciplines. My goal is to foster collegial relationships among the various schools and departments in the college and to continue discovering ways in which we all can position students for ever-changing lifelong careers that are responsive to a global society. We have an exciting opportunity to be leaders in our disciplines and to support NSU’s goal of becoming the nation’s premiere regional university.”

Handel taught courses in music, music education and fine arts and advised more than 80 music education majors each semester. He also served as rehearsal accompanist/organist for Northwestern State’s Chamber Choir and Concert Choir. Handel received the 2011 Excellence in Teaching Award for the College of Arts, Letters, Graduate Studies and Research. He has been a public school teacher at all levels in South Dakota and Arizona.

Handel and Director of Bands Jeff Mathews co-authored “The Best Sounding Band in the Land: A History of the Northwestern State University Band.” He has also contributed to The Grove Dictionary of American Music and the Music Educator’s Journal. He is completing a publication, “Celebrating 50 Years of Community Commitment and Collaboration: The History of the Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Society.” Handel has been a regular presenter at state, regional and national professional conferences.

A graduate of Augustana College, Handel earned a master’s degree and doctorate at Arizona State University. He is a 2017 graduate of the Harvard Institutes for Higher Education: Institute for Management and Leadership in Education.

McAlister will lead the Departments of Teaching, Leadership and Counseling, Health and Human Performance, Military Science, Psychology and Social Work.

McAlister has been head of the Department for Teaching, Leadership and Counseling since 2014 and head of the Department of Teaching and Learning since 2010. She has been a member of Northwestern State’s faculty since 1998, holding the Dan and Lilly Chase Endowed Professorship in 2016-17.

“It is with great enthusiasm that I accept these new responsibilities as dean of the Gallaspy College of Education and Human Development,” said McAlister. It is my privilege to continue my passion of education, working with department heads, faculty and staff to serve our students in reaching their academic and professional goals.”

McAlister said she was appreciate of the opportunity to lead the College of Education and Human Development, which offers degrees at the baccalaureate, masters, specialist and doctoral levels.

“My goal is to foster continued growth in building each of our academic units, and activate increased collaboration within and outside our Northwestern community,” she said. “It a phenomenal opportunity to lead and work at Northwestern.”

Before joining Northwestern’s faculty she was a mathematics teacher at Baton Rouge Magnet High, Sulphur High and Bolton High.

McAlister serves as a site member of national accreditation teams for the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) as well as a state team member. She has previously served as a Board of Examiner team member and chair for accreditation teams for the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher education from 2009 to 2016. McAlister is president-elect of the Louisiana Association for Colleges of Teacher Education and is also the organization’s treasurer.

She has authored numerous publications for national and international professional journals and made a number of presentations at state, national and international education conferences.

McAlister earned a Doctorate in Education (Curriculum and Instruction) from the University of Louisiana-Monroe. She received a master’s degree from Northwestern State and a bachelor’s at Northeast Louisiana University.


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