MACON – Mercer University Provost Dr. D. Scott Davis has announced the appointment of Dr. Keith Howard, chair and professor of mathematics, as interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts and has named a search committee to find a new leader for the University's oldest and largest academic unit to succeed Dr. Lake Lambert.
Dr. Howard's appointment is effective July 1, when Dr. Lambert, the current dean, steps down after five years to assume the presidency of Hanover College in Indiana.
"I am grateful that Keith Howard has agreed to serve as interim dean for the 2015-2016 academic year," Dr. Davis said. "In recent years he played a key role in guiding the College through a revision of its general education curriculum and is respected across campus for his honesty, frankness and integrity. He will serve the College well during this interim period."
A Macon native, Dr. Howard is a graduate of Central High School and the Mercer Upward Bound program. He earned his B.S. in mathematics from Morehouse College and a bachelor's in chemical engineering from Georgia Tech in 1995 as part of the institutions' dual-degree engineering program. During his undergraduate years he was awarded the Ronald E. McNair NASA Scholarship, which provided him the opportunity to intern at the Kennedy Space Center. He went on to earn his Master of Science and Ph.D. degrees in mathematics from Vanderbilt University. During his final year of graduate study, Dr. Howard was selected as a Dissertation Fellow at Kenyon College, where he continued his academic career before joining the Mercer faculty in 2005.
Dr. Howard's research is in the area of mathematical biology, giving particular attention to modeling blood diseases such as aplastic anemia and alpha-thalassemia. He also engages in pedagogical research on the integration of writing and technology in mathematical teaching. He serves on the University's Southern Association of Colleges and Schools leadership team, the Quality Enhancement Plan Assessment Committee, and has previously served as a member of the Faculty House of Delegates and the College of Liberal Arts Executive Committee.
Dr. Howard and his wife, Danielle, have three children, Gabriel, Samuel and Noelle.
The search committee, which begins its work immediately, will be led by Dr. Tom Scott, professor of history and Honors Program director for the College of Liberal Arts. Other committee members include:
- Dr. Eimad Houry, professor and chair of international affairs and director of the INT 301 program
- Dr. David Keith, dean of the Townsend School of Music
- Erin Keller, a graduate of the College of Liberal Arts and vice president for development at NewTown Macon
- Dr. Achim Kopp, professor of foreign languages and literature and Great Books Program director
- Dr. Sheng-Chang Lee, associate professor of physics
- Dr. Hope McIlwain, associate professor of mathematics
- Dr. Katherine Northcutt, assistant professor of biology
- Dr. Chinekwu Obidoa, assistant professor of global health
- Eric O'Dell, assistant professor of art
- Dr. Andrew J. Pounds, professor of chemistry and computer science
- Dr. Deneen Senasi, associate professor of English
- Dr. Charlotte Thomas, professor of philosophy and co-director of the McDonald Center for America's Founding Principles
"I want to thank each of the search committee members for committing their time, energy and expertise to assist me in recruiting the right leader for our College of Liberal Arts, which is the academic cornerstone of the University," Dr. Davis said. "I look forward to working with this committee."