A Farewell Message from Dean Chumbler

Dear CHHS Community,

It has been an honor and privilege to have served the past three years as dean of the CHHS at WKU.  I will be leaving the deanship at the CHHS to live in the Dallas-Ft.Worth Metroplex and serve as the Dean of the College of Health and Public Service at the University of North Texas.

As a diligent, strategy-driven decision maker, I have learned over time that as a leader you have to employ a different repertoire of approaches based on the context and circumstances of the situation. Over the past three years, CHHS experienced an unprecedented $3.1 Million in cuts to the operating budget. This shortfall led us to use diverse approaches and systematic planning in order to steer CHHS thru this difficult challenge. However, this experience had many positives and served as a catalyst to the successful stewardship of CHHS through the next phase of growth.

Despite these budget cuts, we stayed focused on driving innovation and implementing positive change in CHHS. A strategic plan, which included strategies that involved active participation from the CHHS faculty and staff, as well as friends of the college, was developed and implemented in 2016 to guide the college through 2020. This strategic plan served as a blueprint that guided innovative initiatives that were congruent with the overall mission of WKU to be a student-centered, applied research university. We certainly have celebrated some amazing accomplishments, all of which would have not been possible without the diligence and collaboration of so many wonderful faculty and staff.

During my tenure, we made several strategic advancements. Below are a few:

  • Built a robust, applied extramurally funded research environment (the amount of expenditures in extramural research grants and contracts increased by 190% (from $1.2 Million to over $3.5 Million). We further enhanced the research operation in CHHS by adding a series of successful initiatives including:
    • An intensive Faculty Research Mentoring Program for Assistant Professors  that enhanced extramural grant writing and peer-reviewed publications skills.
    • Created its first Research Methods and Statistics Core (RMSC) Group. The RMSC Group provides scientific research guidance to the faculty during the pre-proposal stage, during ongoing research and post-study.
    • Developed and implemented a Summer Research Fellowship program for tenure track faculty.
    • Established two first-ever, interdisciplinary, applied research centers— the  Center for Environmental and Workplace Health and the Center for Applied Science in Health & Aging, both of which integrates students and fosters community partnerships to improve the health and well-being of Southcentral Kentuckians.
  • Expanded success in fundraising and development (the amount of new gift commitments increased by 73% and amount of new gift receipts increased by 30%.). There were 13 new donors who made gifts of $10,000 or more.
    • Establishment of Micatrotto Fund for Excellence in Hospitality Management (represented receipt of largest gift in program’s history and translated into dedication of dining room in Micatrotto name).
  • Bolstered Pedagogy, Student Success and Staff Development
    • Added 11 degree and certification programs.
    • Progression between Freshman and Sophomore year increased 4.6%.
    • Initiated the development of a Master of Excellence in Teaching Certificate Program.
    • Implemented a Teaching Effectiveness Workshop and Teaching Effectiveness survey tool to strengthen pedagogy
    • Created a Dean’s Merit Award to recognize faculty and staff for outstanding contributions.
    • Hired the first ever Chief Diversity Officer in CHHS.

We can all be proud of what we have jointly accomplished on behalf of the CHHS over the past three years.

I can’t part without sharing my gratitude for those who gave us their confidence and commitment as students. We could not have done what we did without you. Our treasured academic programs are strong, relevant and directly impact the workforce in South Central Kentucky. So many of our alumni are taking the knowledge they garnered from the WKU labs, classrooms and clinics and are directly impacting the health and well-being of Southcentral Kentuckians and elsewhere both in and outside of the USA.

In my final chapter as a dean of this college, I want to say thank-you. Thank-you to our faculty, our staff, our students, our alumni and our community for the support you have given us through the years. Your generous gifts, time and resources that you gave to CHHS and to me personally are so wonderfully appreciated. You embody the spirit of the university, “The Spirit Makes the Master”.

Wishing you the Very Best,