Dean of Health and Human Services accepts position at University of North Texas

WKU’s Dean of the College of Health and Human Services has accepted a position as the Dean of the College of Health and Public Service at the University of North Texas, according to a press release from UNT.

Neale Chumbler will replace UNT’s interim dean, who has served in the position since September 2017. Chumbler has served as the dean of the College of Health and Human Services since March 2015, according to his webpage on WKU’s website. He received his graduate degree from WKU.

Chumbler posted the announcement on Twitter Jan. 22, a few days after UNT published the press release. In the tweet, Chumbler said he was “elated to join UNT, partnering with many to move HPS to higher levels and be part of the Mean Green Nation!!!”

Chumbler did not respond to the College Heights Herald’s request for an interview.

This move comes less than four months after President Timothy Caboni sent an email to faculty and staff informing them that only vacant positions that are critical to the university will be filled. The extra scrutiny is an effort to combat the deficit WKU currently faces. Most recently, administrators have estimated that the deficit could rise to $40 million if proposed state budget passes.

A Personnel Actions Approval Committee was created to review all requests to fill vacant positions, according to Caboni. Only the positions that “meet critical needs, meet strict standards for strategic needs, result in cost savings or efficiencies or are deemed to fulfill essential services will be approved to proceed,” according to the email.

Ann Mead, senior vice president for finance and administration, said, in an email, that an empty dean position would be considered critical. She said she had not heard anything about a search for a new dean.

The changes also impacted temporary rate increases, reclassifications and salary adjustments and stipends, which were all put on hold. Searches that were underway when the the new standards were implemented have been allowed to continue.

WKU is currently looking to fill two vacant positions: provost and vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences. There are currently over 200 vacant positions at WKU, according to the employment page. Personnel costs make up about 43 percent of WKU’s $413.7 million budget.

Additionally, the search for the director of the School of Journalism and Broadcasting has been “paused” after two searches resulted in no hires for the position, according to Larry Snyder, dean of Potter College of Arts and Letters.

Chumbler is scheduled to start at UNT July 1, according to the press release.

“I’m excited Dean Chumbler is joining UNT and know that we will accomplish great work under his leadership,” UNT Provost Jennifer Cowley said in the press release. “Our College of Health and Public Service recently was re-envisioned to better serve our students and better align with the important needs of health and public service professions that serve our communities.”

News reporter Emma Collins can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected]. Follow Emma on Twitter at @_mccain_emma_.