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ACU creates new College of Education and Human Services, names Dr. MaLesa Breeding dean

May 17, 2006

Abilene Christian University’s network of colleges officially expands June 1 with the creation of the College of Education and Human Services. Dr. MaLesa Breeding, associate professor and chair of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, has been named dean of the new college.

"The College of Education and Human Services is a nice blend of unique disciplines that have any number of commonalities that promote community between and among departments and programs," Breeding said. The new college is comprised of the departments of Curriculum and Instruction, Graduate Studies in Education, Exercise Science and Health, Social Work and Communication Sciences and Disorders. It also houses TRIO programs as well as Student Success programs.

"Each of these disciplines and programs serves a unique purpose, and yet they dovetail nicely with one another," Breeding said. "The idea of social justice has implications for how we work with children in the classroom. The physical mobility of the elderly is not only a topic of importance to professionals in Exercise Science and Health because mobility has an impact on physical health -- it is also a topic of great importance to speech-language pathologists because mobility in the elderly (or the loss of it) is correlated with loss of language (dementia) in the elderly.  Teachers, school administrators, social workers, speech-language pathologists, nutritionists, health educators and other human service professionals often find themselves collaborating in the workplace every day. It is fitting then, that our students would see us working together in this new college toward common goals."

The TRIO and Student Success programs provide services to young people in the community and on campus, in many situations helping people access a college education that might not otherwise find that access.

"These professionals are doing in real life what those of us in the academic departments are training many of our students to do," Breeding said. "This new organizational structure allows departments and programs to better collaborate and access resources from one another while at the same time, it will encourage the uniqueness of each discipline."

Breeding has spent the past two years as chair of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders and taught at ACU for 15 years, both in education and in communication sciences and disorders.

"Dr. Breeding brings experience, energy and enthusiasm to the role of the dean," said Dr. Dwayne VanRheenen, provost of ACU. "She will be a visionary and articulate leader of the college."

He said that in her time at ACU, Breeding has worked with others to achieve and maintain national accreditation for academic and clinical programs.

Before teaching at ACU, Breeding worked for 10 years as a speech-language pathologist in Abilene public schools.

Breeding said that in her 10 years as a speech-language pathologist, she learned that when she collaborated with teachers, learning specialists, school administrators, social workers and health educators, her chances of meeting the needs of the child were greatly increased.

"Never in our history has there been more of a need for well-prepared teachers, school administrators, learning specialists, social workers, speech-language pathologists, nutritionists and health educators," Breeding said. "Our responsibility as Christians in higher education is not to just prepare these students with knowledge and skill (which is important), but to instill in our students a faith and a sense of commitment that is so strong, that the work they do is more than just "work" -- but a fulfilling of God's plan in their lives."

The College of Education and Human Services joins the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Biblical Studies and College of Business Administration at ACU.

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