Ratcliff picked as dean of Health Sciences and Education

After an extended search, the School of Health Sciences and Education will have a permanent dean starting June 17.

Janet Gooch, vice president for academic affairs and provost, sent an email to faculty at the beginning of the year announcing Lance Ratcliff will serve as the next dean of the School of Health Sciences and Education.

The School of Health Sciences and Education oversees four departments, including communication disorders, education, nursing, and health and exercise sciences.

Gooch previously served in the position before becoming the provost. Since then, the school has had an interim dean. Truman State University conducted a year-long search for the dean position last year, but that failed. This time, Gooch said, the University worked with a search firm and had approximately 50 applicants. She said three candidates visited campus and the community felt Ratcliff was the best suited for Truman.

Ratcliff currently serves as the dean of General Education and Student Services at Southeast Missouri Hospital College of Nursing and Health Sciences and has 10 years of experience in academic and administrative positions. Gooch said Ratcliff has a solid background in the field and with program development and accreditation.

“I think he is going to be a terrific fit for Truman and look forward to helping with the transition,” interim dean Jeanne Harding wrote in an email statement.

Gooch said Ratcliff will start a couple weeks earlier than new administrative officials typically do in an effort to familiarize himself with the school.

“As a dean, you’re expected to help define the vision and goals of the school and to help departments succeed to the best of their abilities to provide really high quality curriculum and make sure what’s happening in the school is in direct line with the mission of the school and the mission of the University,” Gooch said.

Gooch said she expects to see Ratcliff bring in new ideas and work with department chairs and faculty to create exciting initiatives to build on the school’s existing strengths.

Ratcliff said he is looking forward to joining the Truman and Kirksville communities and hopes to hit the ground running come June.

Ratcliff said before applying for the position, he had already heard about Truman’s reputation as an academically rigorous university with a strong liberal arts background. He was familiar with Truman’s rural location, liked Truman’s size and thought the entire University was welcoming when he visited campus.

He said he is familiar with the area of study with his doctorate in nutrition and food science, and has experience with the programs in the school and its interdisciplinary approach.

Ratcliff said his goals for the School of Health Sciences and Education are starting small because he wants to first see what works well.

“If I had to summarize my vision into two words, it would be ‘facilitate excellence,’ because I would want to continue to empower success,” Ratcliff said. “It’s an opportunity to do whatever I can do to help everyone and be a leader in the school and the University.”