University selects Huffman as dean of College of Professional Education
Following an extensive national search, Texas Woman’s University has named Lisa Huffman, Ph.D., dean of its College of Professional Education. Huffman currently serves as dean of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies at Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma. She joins TWU on Sept. 1.
In her role as dean at Cameron, Huffman created a school-wide culture focused on high-impact, hands-on learning experiences for students. The focus on “experiential learning” led to the 2016 opening of the Cameron Psychology Clinic, a free community-based training clinic for the school’s marriage and family counseling students. The clinic provides real-world training for students while serving community members who lack the resources to address their mental health.
“Lisa Huffman’s view of what higher education should be mirrors our university’s motto, ‘Learn by Doing,’” said Alan C. Utter, Ph.D., M.P.H., provost and vice president of academic affairs at TWU. “Her focus on supporting students, academic excellence and serving the community — teamed with the highly innovative programs and excellent faculty in the College of Professional Education — will create opportunities for our students to thrive.”
Huffman sees both challenges and opportunities in working toward her goal of elevating TWU’s College of Professional Education — with its programs in teacher education, family sciences, reading education and the School of Library and Information Studies — to the national stage.
“It is clear to me the college is engaged in multiple helping professions, targeted at building better communities one student, one person and one family at a time,” Huffman said. “I see this (dean’s) position as an opportunity to take these well-respected programs to the next level, but also to be creative and think outside the box — or even throw out the box — in finding solutions to challenges facing higher education today.”
Among those challenges, Huffman said, is the declining enrollment in colleges of education throughout the country. At the same time, she said, K-12 enrollment in Texas is expected to increase, and large numbers of teachers are nearing retirement.
“How can we create a strong teacher pipeline? Where will future teachers come from, and how will we train them? These are exciting questions we will need to address moving forward. It’s time to grow teacher education at TWU and to raise its visibility in the region, state and nationally,” she said.
Huffman also cited an increasing need for master’s-level therapists and counselors across the country, raising the question of how the college can help fill the growing need for these professionals and also support mental health in schools and communities.
“There are many more opportunities and challenges ahead for the College of Professional Education and its individual academic departments, but I fully believe the opportunities outweigh the challenges,” Huffman said. “We will focus on excellent teaching, maximizing our research potential, and strengthening and expanding our community partnerships to ensure each program is ‘best in class.’”
Prior to joining Cameron University, she served as chair of the Department of Educational Psychology at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. In that role, she led successful accreditation reviews by the American Psychological Association, National Association of School Psychologists and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.
Huffman currently serves as vice president-elect of the Oklahoma Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. She also serves as an accreditation site visitor for the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation and as a state accreditation site visitor for Oklahoma’s Office of Educational Quality and Accountability.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology at Purdue University, and both her master’s and doctorate in developmental psychology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Huffman replaces Jerry Whitworth, Ed.D., who served as interim dean of TWU’s College of Professional Education for more than three years. Whitworth will return to teaching and also will serve as program coordinator for special education.
Texas Woman’s University (TWU) is the largest public university in the nation primarily for women and has an enrollment of approximately 15,000 students on campuses in Denton, Dallas and Houston. Since its founding in 1901, TWU has produced more than 90,000 graduates in fields vital to the growth and quality of life in Texas and the nation, including nursing, health care, education and business.