Three Black Scholars Named to Dean Positons at State Univerities

Leslee Battle has been appointed dean of the School of Health Sciences at Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina. She joined the faculty at the university in 2005 as an assistant professor of nursing. During her tenure, she served as assistant dean for curriculum and instruction in the Division of Nursing before being named interim dean of the School of Health Sciences in 2020.

Dr. Battle s a graduate of Winston-Salem State University, where she majored in nursing. She holds s master’s degree in nursing education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a doctorate in educational leadership and administration from Walden University.

Okenwa Okoli was selected as the next dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Memphis. He will take office on January 1. Dr. Okoli is a professor and former chair of the industrial and manufacturing engineering department at the Florida A&M­/Florida State University College of Engineering. He also is the associate director of the High-Performance Materials Institute at Florida State.

Dr. Okoli received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Lagos in Nigeria. He earned a master’s degree in manufacturing systems engineering and a Ph.D. in engineering from the University of Warwick in England.

Paula Montgomery is the new interim dean of the College of Education at the University of Louisiana Lafayette. Dr. Montgomery is a former professor and associate dean of the College of Education. She retired from those positions in 2020. She first joined the university in 2002, as a faculty member in the college’s department of educational foundations and leadership.

Dr. Montgomery holds a bachelor’s degree in social studies secondary education and a master’s degree in guidance and counseling from the University of Louisiana Lafayette. She earned a master’s degree in educational administration and a doctorate in educational leadership and research from the University of Southern Mississippi.

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