New Department Chairs Appointed at Baylor

  • News Photo 3032
    Robert Doyle
  • News Photo 3031
    David Rudd
  • News Photo 3033
    Suzy Weems
July 14, 2005

New department chairs for biology, psychology, and family and consumer sciences have been appointed at Baylor University.

Dr. Robert Doyle, associate professor of biology, and Dr. David Rudd, professor of psychology and neuroscience, began their duties as chairs of their respective departments on June 1.

Dr. Suzy Weems, Regents Professor at Stephen F. Austin State University, will begin her term as chair of family and consumer sciences in August.

A certified professional wetland scientist, Doyle spent his childhood in the world's largest wetland--the Amazon River basin--as the son of Baptist missionaries in Brazil. He graduated cum laude in 1981 with his bachelor's degree from Baylor, where he received the Cornelia Marschall Smith Award for Outstanding Biology Senior. Doyle also earned his master's degree in 1985 from Baylor, conducting his master's thesis on Lake Chapala, Mexico. He then returned to Brazil for postdoctoral research on aquatic plants in the Amazon wetlands. In 1991, he received his doctorate in marine, estuarine and environmental sciences from the University of Maryland.

Doyle served as a research scientist at the University of North Texas from 1991-96; as a research biologist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Waterways Experiment Station in Lewisville from 1996-98; and as an assistant professor at UNT from 1998-2001. He joined the biology faculty at Baylor in 2001 as an associate professor. He teaches courses in wetland ecology and management, restoration ecology and stream ecology.

At Baylor, Doyle is the director of the Center for Reservoir and Aquatic Systems Research, a research and education partnership between Baylor University and the City of Waco that facilitates comprehensive and multidisciplinary approaches to water issues of local, regional and global significance. The center's multiple projects focus on various types of aquatic environments including lakes and reservoirs, rivers and wetlands. Researchers associated with the center have generated more than $2 million of external funding since it was established in 2003.

Doyle's research focuses on the role of vascular aquatic plants on the structure and function of shallow aquatic ecosystems. Doyle is currently involved with several funded studies including research on Lakes Waco, Whitney, Conroe and Lewisville, the Lake Waco Wetlands, and the North Bosque and San Marcos Rivers. In addition, he has published in various scientific journals, including SIDA: Contributions to Botany, Limnology and Oceanography, Aquatic Botany, Freshwater Biology, Journal of Environmental Management, Journal of Aquatic Plant Management and Lake and Reservoir Management.

"Robert Doyle has played a leadership role in developing the important aquatic research project in the College of Arts and Sciences," said Dr. Wallace Daniel, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. "An extremely good mentor of faculty and students, he has the strong support of faculty in his department as a person of vision and accomplishment."

Rudd earned bachelor's degree in psychology cum laude from Princeton University in 1983 and received his master's degree in 1984 and doctorate in 1987, both from the University of Texas. He was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship to study cognitive therapy at the Beck Institute in Philadelphia from 1994-96. He served as chief of the psychotherapy section at Scott and White Hospital in Temple from 1993-99.

An internationally known suicidologist, Rudd joined the psychology and neuroscience faculty at Baylor in 1999. He is the immediate past-president of the American Association of Suicidology, an organization targeting suicide prevention worldwide, and president-elect of the Texas Psychological Association. He also has chaired the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists, a post to which he was appointed by then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush.

Rudd's book, Treating Suicidal Behavior, has become a valuable resource for health professionals dealing with suicide issues and is now in its second printing. In addition, he serves on the editorial boards of The Archives of Suicide Research, Behavior Therapy and Suicide & Life-Threatening Behavior, and has published more than 100 articles and book chapters. Rudd has served as a consultant for many organizations, including the Food and Drug Administration on its study on the use of antidepressants on children and adolescents and the Department of Defense for its study on suicide among soldiers deployed in the Middle East.

Rudd is a member of the American Psychological Association, American Psychological Society, American Association for Behavior Therapy and the International Association of Cognitive Therapy. His honors include the 1998 Texas Psychological Association Award for outstanding scientific contribution, the 1999 Edwin Shneidman Award for early career contribution in suicidology, the 2001 Aleteia Award from the Aleteia International School of Cognitive Therapy in Enna, Italy, and the inaugural Exceptional Leadership Award from the American Association of Suicidology in 2005. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Behavioral Psychology, the American Psychological Association and a founding fellow of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy.

"David Rudd is an accomplished teacher and scholar whose work has earned national recognition and who brings a great deal of energy and vision to his department. He is an excellent leader whose consensus style of leadership will serve faculty and students extremely well," Daniel said.

A Baylor alumna, Weems received her bachelor of science degree in 1965 and earned a master's degree and doctorate from Texas Tech University. She began teaching at SFA in 1973 after serving as an instructor at Texas Tech. She was named Regents Professor in 2003 and serves as the coordinator of the foods, nutrition and dietetics programs and director of the didactic program in dietetics. Under her guidance, the didactic program received a 10-year accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education of the American Dietetics Association.

As a registered dietician, much of Weems' research has focused on nutrition for school-aged children. Her many research grants, articles and presentations include "Texas School Breakfast Program and Competitive Foods in School," "School Lunch as Served by a Charter School," "Nutrition: A Healthy Adventure for Children," and "Nutrition and Athletes," among others.

Weems also is active in state and community organizations and was appointed to three state councils and committees including Food for Health Advisory Council and to the national committee on Ethics for the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences. She also serves as elected Texas delegate for the American Dietetic Association. Her many awards include SFA Alumni Distinguished Professor in 1997 and the SFA Teaching Excellence Award in 2001. In 2004, she was named the outstanding dietetic educator for Texas.

"Suzy Weems comes to Baylor as a very successful teacher and scholar, who has earned a solid reputation for working with students, faculty and community," Daniel said. "She will provide fine leadership to a department whose growth in recent years has been remarkable."

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