Pending board of trustees approval, Dr. Scott Gordon will become the next dean of the College of Nursing and Health Professions at Arkansas State University, Chancellor Kelly Damphousse said Thursday (May 20).
The associate dean and former interim dean of the Wellstar College of Health and Human Services (WCHHS) at Kennesaw State University in Georgia, Gordon was recommended to the chancellor by A-State’s search committee and Provost Alan Utter.
“Dr. Gordon brings a wide background of academic research and leadership to Arkansas State, and his experience at Kennesaw State in the leadership of a college structured very similarly to ours is a great strength,” Damphousse said. “The College of Nursing and Health Professions is one of our largest colleges, and it has a huge impact on our health care community and local economy.”
Gordon said he’s ready to lead a department that is integral to the success of the university.
“I am thrilled and highly honored to join the exceptional culture of Arkansas State University and the College of Nursing and Health Professions,” Gordon said. “Dean Hanrahan built CNHP into the robust college that exists today, and her outstanding legacy serves as a springboard to propel the college into an exciting future. In a time when health care is increasingly vital yet understaffed, I will work passionately alongside CNHP’s dedicated faculty, staff and students to further the college’s mission of addressing the health care education, research and outreach needs of Northeast Arkansas and beyond.”
Gordon succeeds Dr. Susan Hanrahan, who is retiring after 26 years at A-State this June, as the dean of CNHP. Pending board approval at the next ASU System Board of Trustees meeting June 3, Gordon will begin on August 1.
“Dr. Gordon joins us after over 20 years of extensive experience as both a scientist and health science administrator at various universities,” Utter said. “His philosophy, centered on the primary prevention of disease, wellness and integrative health care, is a perfect fit for our students and faculty in the College of Nursing and Health Professions. We are excited to have Dr. Gordon join the academic affairs leadership team here at Arkansas State University.”
A graduate of Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, Gordon completed his master’s and doctorate at Penn State University. He also has post-doctoral work in physiology and molecular biology at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston, and at the University of Missouri.
He joined Kennesaw State in 2017 as associate dean, and soon also became the interim executive director of the Academy for Inclusive Learning and Social Growth in the Wellstar College from February to August 2018. He was asked to step in as interim dean of the college of 5,000 students at KSU in May 2020 until March 2021. Along with being part of teams that secured more than $12 million in gift commitments, he started a WCHHS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiative, hired several key administrators, and oversaw the addition of 13 new faculty lines. He also formed a new WCHHS Student Advisory Board, initiated new annual WCHHS faculty and staff awards, and helped usher in a new B.S. degree in integrated health science and a new minor in nutrition.
“When we compare Dr. Gordon’s experience and strengths, his background and abilities to administer a college with a wide range of health care areas map very closely to our college,” Utter said. “His ability to communicate across diverse groups and the way he conveyed his vision for Arkansas State were important reasons the committee noted in their selection.”
Prior to Kennesaw State, Gordon was department chair and full professor of kinesiology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte from 2012 to 2017. His five years with UNC Charlotte were marked by distinct growth, managing a 70% increase in students in kinesiology, growing from 785 to 1,332, and working to significantly increase department resources, summer courses, and graduate assistant slots to fuel research and outreach work. He managed the addition of two new master’s programs, and facilitated a dramatic increase in faculty publications, presentations and external grant submissions.
Along with his lengthy academic career, Gordon is a U. S. Army veteran who served in the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine during his active duty years, then served as a medic in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard for five years. Gordon also was a member of life sciences laboratory ground support teams for two NASA shuttle missions, STS-57 with Endeavour and STA-62 with Columbia.