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Thomas named interim dean of School of Allied Health Sciences

Dr. Stephen Thomas. Photo by Cliff Hollis.
GREENVILLE, N.C.   (Feb. 26, 2001)   —   Dr. Stephen W. Thomas, professor and chairman of the Department of Rehabilitation Studies at East Carolina University, has been named interim dean for the School of Allied Health Sciences. Thomas will take over the leadership duties at the school on April 13. Dr. Ann Jobe, interim vice chancellor for health sciences, announced the appointment Feb. 14.

"Dr. Thomas comes highly recommended by the administration, faculty and colleagues," Jobe said. "His 15 years with the school provides him with great insight and will make for a smooth transition."

Thomas replaces Dr. Harold P. Jones who was named dean of the University of Alabama School of Health Related Professions in January. Jones came to ECU in March 1992. During his tenure, the enrollment in the School of Allied Health Sciences grew by more than 70 percent and the first state-supported physician assistant degree program was established. The school's doctoral program in Communication Sciences and Disorders was also established and is the first doctoral degree program in North Carolina in an allied health curriculum.

"During his 12 years of leading the School of Allied Health Sciences, Dean Jones has enhanced the quality and level of all of the educational programs within the school," Jobe said. "We wish him continued success in his work at UAB."

Thomas has been chairman of the Department of Rehabilitation Studies in the School of Allied Health Sciences since 1998 when he replaced Dr. Paul Alston, who served as chairman for 10 years. Thomas, who came to ECU in July 1980, also serves as director of the graduate program in vocational education.

Prior to ECU, he held academic, research and administrative positions with the University of Arizona in Tucson, the University of Wisconsin-Stout in Menomonie and the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. Thomas earned his doctorate of education and his master's degree in rehabilitation studies from the University of Arizona and his bachelor's degree in psychology and sociology from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth.

"Dr. Thomas is an outstanding choice for interim dean," Jones said. "His experience, administrative skills and knowledge of the school makes me extremely confident of this ability to lead the school through the important issues it faces over the next several years."

Jones added that he and Thomas will work together closely over the next two months on issues ranging from building planning to program development and budget management in order to ensure a smooth transition. Thomas outlined several initiatives that he wants to have well under way at the school over the 12 to 18 months. These include design of the new SAHS building on the medical campus, transition of bachelor's degree programs in occupational therapy and physician assistant studies to master's level, the approval of a bachelor's degree in allied health sciences and a doctoral degree program in rehabilitation counseling and administration.

"I look forward to the challenge of working with the school's department chairs, faculty and staff as well as other ECU leaders to help the School of Allied Health Sciences remain on track during this time of administrative transition," Thomas said. "I'm flattered by the confidence that Dean Jones, interim Vice Chancellor Ann Jobe and Chancellor Richard Eakin have in my leadership abilities."


Contact: Jane Martin | 252-744-2481