New Dean for Health, Education, and human Sciences
Dr. D. Antonio “Dean” Cantu assumed the position of Dean of the College of Health, Education, and Human Sciences on Feb.1. The search for the new head administrator had been underway since June, led by the ACES (Academic Career and Executive Search) national search firm.
“I am very pleased Dr. Cantu has chosen to come to UAFS as the inaugural dean of the College of Health, Education and Human Sciences,” said UAFS Provost Dr. Georgia Hale. “His broad experience includes leading the successful merger of multiple departments, which will be very valuable as he works with departmental leadership, faculty, and staff within this newly formed college.”
“I am honored and humbled to be selected as the inaugural Dean of the College of Health, Education, and Human Sciences at the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith,” shared Cantu. “I am truly grateful for this opportunity to work together with the extremely dedicated and exceptionally talented faculty and staff.”
Cantu said he most looks forward to working collaboratively with the leadership team, faculty, staff, community partners, and alumni.
“Collaboration is essential to building upon the rich tradition of excellence in each of the college’s unique programs, and in working to provide our students with the best educational experience possible to prepare them for their respective professions that are focused on caring for the physical, mental, social, and educational needs of our communities,” he said. “Indeed, the pandemic serves to remind us all of the critical importance of this charge, and just how essential these professions are in our society.”
“In addition, as a first-generation college student, I was attracted to UAFS because of its rich history – from its early twentieth-century origins as a junior college to the role it plays today as a university in the twenty-first century – in serving students from a variety of diverse backgrounds, including from underrepresented and underserved populations.”
Dr. Cantu currently serves as the associate dean and director for the Department of Education, Counseling, and Leadership at Bradley University, where he oversaw strategic initiatives including the merger of two distinct academic departments into one cohesive unit and the development and implementation of a five-year departmental strategic plan.
He also currently serves as a Research Fellow in the Future Institute Research Center.
Cantu earned his Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction in 1997 from Southern Illinois University; his Ed.S. (SCCT) in Community College Teaching in 1989, his Master of Arts in History in 1984 and his Bachelor of Science in Social Science Education in 1983, all from Arkansas State University; and his Associates of Science in Social Science in 1981 from Highland Community College.