edward serna

Dr. Edward Serna

Dr. Edward Serna, formerly chief of staff and associate vice chancellor for external funding at the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith, has been promoted to chief of staff and vice chancellor for strategic initiatives, effective July 1.


In his new role, Serna will oversee the implementation of the university’s new five-year strategic plan, a task that includes successfully working towards the plan’s goals, providing measurable benefits to stakeholders, and working to transform the university to its new vision of becoming a national model for preparing students for workforce mobility.


Additionally, Serna will be responsible for handling special projects for the Chancellor’s Office and ensuring projects are being managed within defined timelines, frameworks and budgets. He will oversee the offices of Public Information, Grants Administration, Government and Community Relations, and International Relations.


As associate vice chancellor, Serna coordinated the development of the university’s recent strategic plan, in addition to helping conceptualize the programming of unmanned aircraft courses at the university. Under his leadership, the university is enjoying a thriving grants culture that has resulted in dramatic increases in grant submissions and awards, increases Serna credits to the deans, faculty members and staff at the university who have helped write grants.


“I am excited to work with Dr. Beran and senior administration to identify strategic opportunities to position the university as a national innovator for workforce development – whether it be a grant, a corporate partnership, or an innovative area of study,” Serna said.


Dr. Paul B. Beran, UAFS chancellor, said Serna has been an “invaluable” administrator at the university.


“During his time at UAFS, I have seen firsthand the drive, competence and strategic perspective Dr. Serna brings to each of his myriad of duties,” Beran said. “He played a pivotal role in the drafting of our strategic plan, and he will play an even more important role in the implementation of it. Additionally, Dr. Serna’s industry connections from his time as a defense contractor were invaluable in helping us establish unmanned aircraft courses at the university.”


“I look forward to seeing Dr. Serna lead a unified, collaborative effort to achieve the goals outlined in our strategic plan that will lead us towards a prosperous future,” he added.


Prior to entering higher education, Serna garnered more than 15 years of high-level consulting and management experience for clients such as the U.S. Army and NASA. When he began teaching as an adjunct instructor in 2007, he discovered a passion for higher education and began pursuing his doctorate at the University of Alabama in 2012. He came to UAFS in 2015 as grants director after a year as an assistant professor of management at Athens State University.


Serna earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Winthrop University, a master’s degree in industrial management from Clemson University and a master’s degree in information systems from Auburn University. He was also recognized as an Outstanding Doctoral Student from the University of Alabama’s Higher Education Administration program. He is a member of the 2017 class of Leadership Arkansas.


About the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith

The University of Arkansas – Fort Smith is the premiere regional institution of Western Arkansas, connecting education with careers and serving as a driver of economic development and quality of place in the greater Fort Smith region. Small class sizes, dedicated faculty and staff, affordable tuition rates, and a diverse on-campus culture allow UAFS students to fully explore their areas of interest in ways that prepare them for post-graduate success academically, professionally, and personally. To find out what makes UAFS just right for you, go to www.uafs.edu.


Article by John Post, Director of Public Information
Date Posted: 
Tuesday, June 27, 2017
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