Interim Deans Appointed

Feb. 2, 2005

by Lori Scott Fogleman

Baylor University Provost David L. Jeffrey has announced the appointments of two Baylor professors as interim deans of their academic units.

Dr. Lee C. Nordt, associate professor of geology and associate dean for sciences, has been appointed interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Nordt will succeed Dr. Wallace L. Daniel, who is returning to teaching and research after not seeking reappointment to another term as dean. Daniel served nine years at the helm of the College of Arts and Sciences, which is Baylor's largest academic unit with 26 academic departments.

Dr. Deborah L. Johnston, associate professor of health, human performance and recreation and associate dean for academic affairs and research in the School of Education, has been appointed interim dean of the School of Education. Johnston will succeed Dr. Robert J. Yinger, who announced his resignation as dean at the end of the spring semester to return to teaching and research.

Both appointments are effective in August 2005.

Nordt joined the Baylor faculty in 1996. He earned three degrees - his bachelor's, master's and doctorate all from Texas A&M University. His research interests include the global soil carbon cycle and landscape evolution, the geology of archaeological sites in Israel, Mexico, Peru and Texas and climate change during the past 15,000 years.

Recently Nordt began researching the soils and hydrology of the newly-created wetlands in the Bosque River drainage basin in Waco. With colleagues, he also is investigating the use of modern vertisol properties for paleo-environmental interpretation of vertisols in the rock record. In addition, he is consulting on National Science Foundation and National Geographic Society grants with Penn State University to conduct geo-archaeological research in northwest coastal Peru.

In addition, Nordt is part of a team investigating late Cretaceous greenhouse/icehouse climates and is researching the evolution of C4 grasses on the North American Plains during the late Quaternary.

A Fellow of the Geological Society of America, Nordt has edited a special volume of the journal Geoderma, is section editor for the upcoming book, Encyclopedia of Soils, edits for the Glossary of Geologic Terms and serves on the editorial board of the journal Geoarchaeology. At Baylor, he also teaches global soil systems, geo-archaeology, wetlands, paleosols and paleoclimates.

Johnston joined the Baylor faculty in 1981 and taught until 1984, when she went to the University of Arkansas to complete her doctorate. She returned to Baylor as a professor in 1988. Johnston earned her bachelor's degree from Northwest Missouri State University in 1977, her master's in exercise physiology from Baylor in 1981 and her doctorate from Arkansas in 1988.

At Baylor's School of Education, Johnston has served in several capacities: director of graduate studies in health, human performance and recreation from 2000-01; acting chair of the HHPR department from 2000-02; associate dean for graduate studies and research from 2002-04; acting dean of the School of Education from Aug. 2004-Jan. 2005 and her current position as associate dean for academic affairs and research.

Johnston has published articles in several journals, including Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 36(5), Supplement, American Journal of Health Behavior, Biomechanics in Sports XV: Proceedings of the 15th International Symposium on Biomechanics in Sports and Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. Her latest research includes the related effects of cordyceps sinesis supplementation of physiological performance indices during cycling in males; grant projects on Curves in the public schools and WISD K-12 innovative fitness curricula; the reward of work in public/private schools colleges and universities as criteria for tenure and promotion; the effects of innovative teaching strategies in high school fitness on health-related fitness indices and psychosocial measures; and wellness assessment approaches in health and human performance.

Johnston is a member of the Holmes Partnership Conference, American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, American College of Sports Medicine and American Society of Exercise Physiologists, among other affiliations. At Baylor, she has served on the council of deans, executive board of faculty senate, and as chair of the faculty committee on enrollment management.

Johnston has received several awards, including the School of Education Service Award in 2002, School of Education Leadership Award in 1999 and the Oxford Scholar Award at the University of Arkansas. She is a member of First Baptist Church of Woodway.

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