Dr. Ron Darbeau, dean of the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and interim dean of the College of Health Sciences, will step down at the end of the 2020 academic year to serve as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Lock Haven University in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania. 

In the coming months, the university will launch a nationwide search for dean of the College of STEM, as Darbeau's final day at UAFS will be June 1, 2020, said Dr. Georgia Hale, provost and vice chancellor of academic affairs at UAFS.

“Dr. Darbeau is a strong advocate for student success. During his tenure at UAFS, he implemented several projects to help bolster student success. A few of them include expanding the advising center, acquiring grants focused on student persistence and graduation, improving the instrumentation within the college, and encouraging more faculty and student research partnerships. I wish him well and look forward to following his professional growth as the provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at Lock Haven University.”

“It has been an absolute honor to work with the students, faculty, and staff at UAFS and with the Fort Smith community over the past five years,” said Darbeau. “I have consistently said this is the best job I have ever had. I hope I leave the institution better than I found it and that I have given this university at least as much as it has given me. Under the leadership of Chancellor Riley and Provost Hale, I am excited about the university’s future, and I wish UAFS and the River Valley continued success.”

During his five years at UAFS, Darbeau contributed to numerous academic and educational advancements, including the implementation of the STEM Living Learning Community in partnership with university housing, the Lion Launch Pad initiative in collaboration with Apple and Cengage Unlimited and the MathUp program. Darbeau also oversaw the STEM College as its grantsmanship for research, research training, and infrastructure increased by 300 percent and it procured almost $1 million worth of state-of-the-art, industry-standard instrumentation for teaching and research. Darbeau additionally has served as interim dean of the College of Health Sciences since May 15, 2019, during which time a national search for a permanent dean has taken place. 

Lock Haven University (LHU) is a small, public university - celebrating its 150th anniversary this year - and located on the West Branch of the Susquehanna River in the scenic mountains of Pennsylvania.

According to RPA Inc., the executive recruitment and consulting firm leading the search, the LHU provost reports to the president of the institution, leading 209 faculty, 61 staff, and 31 coaches within the areas of the Stephen Poorman College of Business, Information Systems, and Human Services; the College of Liberal Arts and Education; the College of Natural, Behavioral, and Health Sciences; Planning and Assessment; Library Services; the Center for Global Engagement; the Center for Career and Professional Development; and Athletics. 

In his new role, Darbeau will provide vision, leadership and direction for the university’s academic affairs and serve as a key leader for the Pennsylvania State System Redesign toward cross-institutional delivery of academic programs. Darbeau will replace Dr. Donna Wilson, former provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, who was named vice chancellor and chief academic officer of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) on Oct. 14.

Prior to his term as dean at UAFS, Darbeau spent 19 years at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana – the last 12 of which he served as professor and chair of the department of chemistry and physics. He is a physical organic chemist who has published dozens of peer-reviewed articles in his field. Darbeau earned his Bachelor of Science in chemistry at the University of the West Indies in his native Trinidad, followed by his Master of Science and Ph.D. at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore in 1992 and 1996, respectively.

Darbeau also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Arkansas Colleges of Health Education, as a member of the Advancing Coherent and Equitable Systems of Science Education (ACESSE) group in Arkansas and as vice president of the Arkansas Deans’ Association.


Rachel Rodemann Putman
Date Posted: 
Friday, January 10, 2020
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