Texas A&M: Provost Recognizes Outgoing Deans, ‘Three Exemplars Of Selfless Service’


Texas A&M University Interim Provost and Executive Vice President Timothy P. Scott today recognized three outgoing college deans – Valen Johnson, Steven Oberhelman and Deborah Thomas – calling them “exemplars of selfless service.”

The university initiative, the Path Forward, called for the creation of the College of Arts and Sciences, which requires the colleges of Geosciences, Liberal Arts and Science be merged.

Johnson served as dean of science since 2019 and was interim dean prior to that time. Scott noted the college is home to a Nobel Laureate and several National Academy of Sciences members, and several departments rank within the top 20 nationally.

Oberhelman has been the interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts since 2021, prior to which time, he served as associate dean for undergraduate programs. Scott said Liberal Arts at A&M, “stand at the forefront of the production and dissemination of new knowledge and are nationally and internationally recognized for their scholarship. Liberal Arts faculty are also dedicated instructors who teach a third of the core curriculum for all Aggies.”

Thomas has served as dean of geosciences since 2019 and was interim dean previously. “During her time as dean, Debbie oversaw one of the nation’s most comprehensive earth-system colleges, which has been committed to discovery, advancement, and application of knowledge fundamental to understanding our planet and its resources for a sustainable future,” Scott said, noting the college has served as home for the International Ocean Discovery Program and the Texas Sea Grant College Program.

Of the three, Scott said, “Each has been instrumental in making the merger possible, advocating for their faculty, staff, and students, and contributing to what we believe will become a preeminent College of Arts and Sciences. While they incorporate all the core values we espouse, as their service term comes to a close, I wish to recognize their selfless service to the university, their respective colleges, and their colleagues.”

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