August 15, 2020

College announces deans for science, education schools

William J. Behre has been named dean of the School of Education, after serving as its interim one, and Jeffrey M. Osborn, professor of biology at Truman State University, has been appointed dean of the School of Science.

The announcement came after an extensive, six-month-long search to fill the two positions.

Behre graduated from Vassar College with an advanced bachelor’s degree in economics and later got his master’s degree in education and special education from Hunter College. He received his doctorate in education from the University of Michigan.

Before he was appointed interim dean, Behre served as chair of the department of Special Education Language and Literacy and belonged to the Faculty Senate Executive Board and other planning committees at the College.

Behre’s research has explored topics such as school violence and special education. He, along with some of his co-authors, received the 2000 Palmer O. Johnson Award for an article that appeared in a journal for the American Educational Research Association (AERA), the primary educational research association in North America.

While serving as interim dean and department chair at the College, he helped found the Center for Assistive Technology and Inclusive Education Studies. He regularly worked to develop research and bring funds to the College.

More recently, Behre helped create the School of Education’s clinic, which provides counseling and community services as well as internship placements for students in the speech pathology and counselor education programs.

Osborn graduated with honors from Texas State University with a bachelor’s degree in biology and later received his master’s degree in botany. He received his doctorate in plant biology from Ohio State University. He recently served two consecutive terms as program director and a member of the executive board of the Botanical Society of America.

Osborn has participated in numerous research efforts, many of which included his students. Some of these were done in the broad field of plant evolutionary biology while others were for curriculum transformation. He also is the author of numerous research articles and book reviews.

He received the highest award at Truman State for faculty members who have contributed to student success and the university’s missions.

The search for the deans began in early September after Terence W. O’Connor, former dean of the School of Education, resigned and after Gale Simmons, former dean of the School of Science, accepted a position at another school.

At that time, Behre and Deborah Knox were appointed as interim deans.

Stephen Briggs, provost, was a key figure in filling the vacant positions. He put together a formal search committee and appointed a search committee chair. This hiring process is similar to that for any other position at the College.

After two candidates withdrew from the dean position for the School of Science, Osborn was left running unopposed.

Since he did well throughout his interview and screening process and was deemed fully qualified and capable, no other search was needed, and he was offered the position.

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