WMU News

New deans named in aviation, education and fine arts

April 20, 2000

KALAMAZOO -- WMU's Board of Trustees today approved the appointments of Dr. David A. England as dean of the College of Education, Dr. Margaret Merrion as dean of the College of Fine Arts, and Dr. Richard A. Wright as dean of the College of Aviation. Wright's appointment is effective May 1. The others are effective July 1.

Dr. David A. England, dean of the College of Education

England is currently professor and head of the School of Curriculum and Educational Leadership and associate director of teacher education at Oklahoma State University. In that position, he manages a unit that has 35 full-time faculty, an additional 10 instructors, 38 graduate assistants and a staff of five.

Previously, England served as associate professor of curriculum and instruction at Louisiana State University, where he also served as associate dean for academic affairs and associate dean for teacher education. In addition, he served as director of the LSU University Writing Project for four years and remains a consultant to that effort. His background also includes a faculty position at Western Virginia University.

England, who began his career as a high school English teacher and coach in Franklin, Ind., earned bachelor's and master's degrees in secondary education in 1968 and 1973, respectively, and a doctoral degree in English education in 1976, all from Indiana University.

He has been active at the national level in educational reform movements, currently serving on the Holmes Group/Holmes Partnership national board of directors. He also has been active in curriculum development work in English and active with the National Council of Teachers of English. In addition, he has served as a consultant to the Florida Board of Regents on the topic of professional education programs in the Florida system.

England, who also will be a tenured professor of teaching, learning and leadership, replaces Dr. Frank Rapley, who announced last year he is stepping down from his position as dean.

Dr. Margaret Merrion, dean of the College of Fine Arts

Merrion currently is dean of the College of Fine Arts and professor of music at Ball State University, a position she has held since 1990. She joined the Ball State faculty in 1986 as associate dean. Previously, she was a faculty member at the University of Northern Iowa for eight years, serving as assistant and associate professor, supervisor of clinical experiences and coordinator of undergraduate and graduate studies.

Merrion, who began her career as a music educator in the Chicago public and parochial schools, earned a bachelor's degree in music education from Chicago State University in 1971, and master's and doctoral degrees in music education in 1976 and 1979, respectively, from the University of Missouri at Columbia. She also completed Harvard University's management development program in 1989.

The author or co-author of five books, Merrion has written on such topics as instructional strategies for music education and creative drama and music activities for teachers. She also is active in a number of professional and arts organizations. She currently serves as president of the International Council of Fine Arts Deans and has been a part of art and higher education initiatives with the National Endowment for the Arts, the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education and the National Association of Schools of Music and the National Association for Schools of Art and Design.

Merrion replaces Robert H. Luscombe, who retired last year. Her appointment includes a tenured position as professor of music.

Dr. Richard A. Wright, dean of the College of Aviation

Wright currently serves as WMU's associate vice president for research and, since January, also has served as interim dean of the College of Aviation. He has been a member of the University's administration since 1993, when he was appointed associate vice president for academic affairs and with a concurrent tenured position as a professor of philosophy. He also served in 1999 as interim vice president for information technology before moving to his current post in the research office late last year.

Prior to coming to WMU, Wright was director of the Biomedical and Health Care Ethics Program at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and professor of biomedical ethics and research from 1989 to 1993. He also has been a faculty member at the University of Toledo and at the Medical College of Ohio. His higher education background includes extensive work with curriculum development and computer-based instruction as well as student recruitment and retention.

Wright earned his bachelor's degree from Baylor University and his master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the author of several books and a number of articles on topics ranging from African philosophy to medical ethics.

Wright is replacing James Crehan, whose return to the faculty was approved by trustees in January.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 616 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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