SMU Names Two New Deans

SMU has announced two new appointments to its ranks. Robin Poston and Jason P. Nance will serve as the Dean of the Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies and Dedman School of Law, respectively.

Jason P. Nance, an education policy and law scholar who studies inequalities in public education, will join SMU’s Dedman School of Law as the Judge James Noel Dean in August. He comes to SMU from the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he is associate dean for research and faculty development and a professor of law.

Jason P. Nance

“The Dedman School of Law aspires both to maintain its long-standing top status in the region and to rise significantly in the national rankings,” said Elizabeth G. Loboa, SMU provost and VP for academic affairs, in a statement. Under Nance’s leadership, “we’re well positioned,” she said. 

SMU’s Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies

Robin Suzanne Poston

Robin Suzanne Poston, has been appointed dean of SMU’s Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies and associate provost for graduate education. Poston, who is vice provost and dean of the Graduate School at the University of Memphis, has led strategic initiatives at the university to modernize academic, scholarly and international approaches to support enrollment growth, student success, and timely graduation. She’s also supported interdisciplinary teams as director of the Systems Testing Excellence Program (STEP) at the university’s FedEx Institute of Technology. 

The Moody School is focused on improving SMU’s graduate programs, as well as strategic research investments, says SMU’s Loboa. “Graduate education is an essential component of a university’s research ecosystem, and doctoral students, in particular, constitute important metrics in the Carnegie Classification, which is used to distinguish universities in terms of their research productivity,” the provost said. 

SMU launched the Moody School in 2020—its eighth degree-granting school—after receiving a “landmark” $100 million in funding from the Moody Foundation in November 2019. All graduate programs were previously administered through individual schools, such as Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

The investment in a “more strategic approach” to graduate-level education and research signaled SMU’s determination to be a” full partner in global and commercial problem-solving,” as well as a pipeline for leaders to tackle those challenges, the university said.

“Dr. Poston will help us build our research and graduate education capabilities to meet needs that we don’t even know exist yet, said SMU President R. Gerald Turner.

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