Fall semester begins with three new deans
BOONE—Three of the university’s academic colleges are beginning the fall semester under new leadership. Dr. Melba Spooner serves as dean of Reich College of Education (RCOE). Phyllis Kloda serves as dean of the College of Fine and Applied Arts, and Dr. Heather Hulbert Norris serves as dean of the Walker College of Business (WCOB).
Spooner has spent her higher education career at University of North Carolina at Charlotte where she was a faculty member and served in various roles in the College of Education including assistant dean; chair of the Department of Middle, Secondary, and K-12 Education; and associate dean. She recently served as senior associate dean. She started her career in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools as a classroom teacher and assistant principal.
Last May, the RCOE enrolled approximately 1,500 undergraduate and 1,000 graduate students. The RCOE provides courses and support to students enrolled in teacher preparation programs located not only in RCOE but also the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Fine and Applied Arts and Beaver College of Health Sciences.
“Guiding our students as they become professionals in their respective fields begins with learning to view the world from different perspectives and using that knowledge to be responsive to the needs of all students and active learners,” Spooner said. “As the needs of our students continuously change, we must be able to adjust our curriculum to meet the needs without sacrificing the integrity of programs.”
Spooner earned her Ed.D., in curriculum and teaching from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and her master’s and bachelor’s degrees in early childhood education from UNC Charlotte. She also holds a Management Development Program Certificate from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education.
Areas of professional interest and research include university-school partnerships, specifically related to professional development schools and networks that support teacher development and enhance program quality. She received the 2016 Distinguished Faculty Award from the UNC Charlotte Alumni Association.
Kloda previously served as an associate dean in The School of The Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at The College at Brockport, New York. She served as chair of the Department of Art at Brockport from 2006 until 2012. Prior to her arrival at Brockport, she was a faculty member in the Department of Fine Arts at Ohio Wesleyan University and at the University of Wyoming, where she was recognized with an Extraordinary Merit in Research Award for her scholarship along with an Ellbogen Teaching Award.
As dean of Appalachian’s College of Fine and Applied Arts, Kloda leads seven departments: Applied Design, Art, Communication, Military Science and Leadership, Sustainable Development, Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment, and Theatre and Dance. Last May, the college enrolled over 2,900 undergraduate and graduate students.
“What most excites me about our college is the unique programming and diversity of our seven departments. Our focus on sustainability and collaboration among disciplines has poised the college to become a strong, visible leader on campus, in the region and beyond. I’m delighted to be working with a such an innovative group of faculty, staff and students this year,” Kloda said.
Kloda earned her B.S. in studio art at Nazareth College, and after a decade of working in the newspaper industry as a graphics editor, she returned to earn her M.F.A. in ceramics from Ohio University.
Since 2014, Norris has served as acting dean of the Walker College of Business. She entered the college as a faculty member in the Department of Finance, Banking and Insurance in the fall of 2003. She was named assistant dean for undergraduate programs in 2005, associate dean for undergraduate programs and administration in 2008 and senior associate dean in 2012.
“It has been a pleasure serving the college and university as part of such a great team, and I’m honored to continue to do so in this new role. As dean of the Walker College, I will guide the vision of the college and actively pursue the support to achieve it,” Norris said.
“Our vision is to be recognized as a national leader for our innovative, life-changing undergraduate and graduate business programs, including our emphasis on international experiences, sustainable business practices, entrepreneurial programs and real-world applications with industry. We prepare and inspire students to be ethical, innovative and engaged business leaders who positively impact our community, both locally and globally.”
Prior to coming to Appalachian, Norris served on the faculty at Bowling Green State University, Pennsylvania State University and West Virginia University.
Norris currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce and the Children’s Hope Alliance, where she is a member of the board’s finance committee, foundation board and investments committee. Norris is also a member of Appalachian’s Academic Leadership Development Advisory Board and recently completed an intensive leadership development program, Mastering Leadership Dynamics, through the BB&T Leadership Institute.
Norris earned her bachelor’s degree in finance from James Madison University and her master’s and doctorate degrees in finance from the Pennsylvania State University.