Jerry R. Thomas, professor and chair of the Department of Kinesiology at Iowa State University, has been named dean of UNT's College of Education. The appointment is effective Aug. 1.
After joining Iowa State University as professor and chair in 1998, Thomas served as interim dean of the university's College of Education from 2004 to 2005 and interim associate dean for research and graduate studies in the college from 2003 to 2004.
"I am very pleased that Dr. Thomas will be joining UNT as dean of the College of Education," says Wendy K. Wilkins, UNT provost and vice president for academic affairs. "Dr. Thomas brings valuable experience as a leader, a professor and a researcher who is well-known across the United States and throughout the world. Under his leadership, I anticipate an exciting next few years for the College of Education at UNT."
Thomas is the author of more than 200 research and professional publications, books and book chapters, including the best-selling graduate textbook, Research Methods in Physical Activity, which is in its fifth edition and has been translated into six languages. His research on motor development examines cognitive factors, expertise and gender differences in children's motor skills.
"I am very excited to be joining the UNT College of Education," Thomas says. "My visits with the faculty, staff and search committee at UNT convinced me that the College of Education has a great deal of potential, and this is a wonderful opportunity to continue building the stature of the college."
Thomas replaces Jean Keller, who will return to the faculty to focus on teaching and research after serving as dean since 1997.
Before joining Iowa State University, Thomas served as professor from 1988 to 1998 in the Department of Kinesiology at Arizona State University in Tempe, where he was chair from 1988 to 1992 and associate dean of the Graduate College from 1992 to 1995.
He was also a professor at Louisiana State University from 1977 to 1988, serving as chair of the Department of Kinesiology from 1977 to 1980 and as director of the School of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (HPERD) from 1980 to 1981.
In addition, he served on the faculty at Florida State University in Tallahassee; Georgia Southern College in Statesboro, Ga.; Bloomsburg State College in Bloomsburg, Pa.; and Jefferson State Junior College in Birmingham, Ala. He has been an elementary physical educator in Tuscaloosa Public Schools in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Mount Brook Public Schools in Birmingham.
Thomas has been a visiting scholar in Australia, China and Korea and has earned several honors, including the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) Honor Award in 1989-90. He served as president of the American Academy of Kinesiology and Physical Education in 1991-92 after being elected fellow in 1984. He also earned the Distinguished Scholar Award in 2003 from the North American Society for Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity, an organization for which he has also served as president in the past.
He is the first and current president of the newly formed American Kinesiology Association and a former president of the Iowa Academy of Education.
Thomas will also hold a position as professor in the Department of Kinesiology, Health Promotion and Recreation in the UNT College of Education while serving as dean.
Thomas earned master's and doctoral degrees in kinesiology from the University of Alabama in 1964 and 1970, respectively. He earned a bachelor's degree in health and exercise science from Furman University in 1963.
UNT News Service Press Release
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