The new dean in town

Sarah Lawrence, Staff Reporter

There’s a new dean in town, and his name is Dr. Kevin Ball.

Following an in-depth selection process, complete with open interviews and presentations for Oakland University students, faculty and staff conducted last spring, a new dean for the OU School of Health Sciences (SHS) has finally been selected.

Effective Aug. 15, Dr. Kevin Ball, began his deanship, and he is excited to get started on his plans for bringing the SHS into a new chapter of leadership.

Ball holds a Ph.D. in community health (biomechanics), a master’s degree in exercise science, and a bachelor’s degree in physical and health education, all from the University of Toronto.

He was the former dean of the University of Hartford’s College of Education, Nursing and Health Professions, and also held academic leadership positions, including associate dean for graduate studies and research, and academic director for the Master of Science in Prosthetics and Orthotics program.

Prior to this, he held academic positions at the University of Buffalo; New York Chiropractic College; Ithaca College in New York; McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario; and the University of Toronto.

Ball has chaired and or served on numerous academic and administrative planning committees that have focused on topics ranging from strategic planning and leadership searches to academic program review and the utilization of information technology.

He has also contributed to numerous community partnerships promoting STEM education.

According to the SHS mission statement, the school is passionate about “providing students with the best science-based health education, high-quality academic preparation, interdisciplinary teaching and excellence in instruction in the classroom and clinical laboratory.”

Additionally, they are known for providing exceptional environments for students to collaborate through their practices, thus transforming into leaders that excel in diverse wellness and health-related practices.

Ball is looking to extend and develop these missions through three major initiatives: better organization and pairing of programs within the SHS, developing the Oakland HELPS Institute, and implementing a student leadership model.

“Our goal is to find ways to combine our six major programs into three, smaller programmatic groupings based on each specialty area,” Ball said. “Coming from Hartford, where the university was separated into colleges instead of schools, Oakland University will provide a bigger, broader portfolio and network for our team to work with.”

He plans to create major groups including:

    • Foundations of Health
    • Biomedical Professions
    • Public and Environmental Health and Wellness

From here, he plans to develop the Oakland HELPS Institute by bringing the narrowed program areas under a broad, interdisciplinary umbrella that will help the SHS to better broadcast student work and progress, and become involved with the community.

“We want to have students, faculty and staff engage with our community, and use it as a tool so people will know the great things OU health professionals are doing,” Ball said. “The other component is to emphasize the process of self-reflection as students complete their studies so they are sure to find the best fit when they enter the field.”

This will also be supplemented with opportunities for students to enhance their skill sets through additional field experience and opportunities for symposium.

Ball’s first move as dean will be to emphasize the importance of clear communication within the SHS, as well as between himself and the students.

For more information about Ball or the SHS, contact [email protected] or call (248) 370-3562.