Provost and Deans
UA is comprised of 14 schools and colleges, which together offer more than 300 degree programs. See a list of UA's schools and colleges. Below are bios for each dean.
Dr. Stephen Z.D. Cheng
Dean, College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering,
R.C. Musson and Trustees Professor of Polymer Science
When Dr. Stephen Z.D. Cheng became only the second dean of The University of Akron’s world-renowned College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering in 2007, he was already a familiar face on campus. He had joined UA 20 years earlier as an assistant professor of polymer science.
He now oversees the program he helped to build, one that is the largest and broadest in the U.S. The college is organized for teaching and research at the graduate level, granting the M.S. and Ph.D. in either polymer science or polymer engineering. In addition to the Department of Polymer Science and Department of Polymer Engineering, there is the Institute of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering. The institute oversees the facilities, instrumentation and support staff and generally provides a research focus for the department faculty and graduate students.
Cheng began his career as a research associate and postdoctoral fellow at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he had earned a Ph.D. Cheng was awarded a B.S. in Mathematics at East China Normal University, and an M.S. in Polymer Engineering at DongHua University. More.
Susan G. Clark
Interim Dean, College of Education
Professor of Education
Susan G. Clark, Ph.D., J.D., began an appointment as interim dean of the College of Education on Aug. 19. As a professor in the Department of Educational Foundations and Leadership she has taught school law, disability law, and other leadership and management courses for practicing and prospective school leaders.
Clark earned a law degree at UA's McDowell School of Law, a Ph.D. in Educational Administration at Kent State University, a master's degree in educational administration and instructional services at Xavier University, and a bachelor's degree at Miami University.
A frequent speaker at local, state, national and international conferences, she also has provided many school and staff in-services for public school districts, educational service centers and for career centers. Clark also hosts a yearly Women Leaders Conference on campus through the College of Education Office of Outreach and Professional Learning. She is a member of the Ohio Council of School Board Attorneys as well as the Ohio State, Akron and Cleveland Bar Associations and is licensed to practice in all state courts in Ohio and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. In addition, she is the past president of the Education Law Association, an international organization serving as the premier source of information on education law, and has served on its board of directors since 2007. More.
Interim Dean, Wayne College
Professor of Engineering
On July 1, 2013, Daniel Deckler, Ph.D., P.E., became interim dean of The University of Akron Wayne College, UA’s first regional campus. Located in Orrville, Wayne College opened in 1972 to serve residents of Wayne, Medina and Holmes counties. Today, the college has more than 2,000 students enrolled each semester in credit classes, with another 2,000 participating in continuing education and/or workforce development training.
Deckler, who joined the Wayne College faculty in 1991 to teach the first two years of coursework in mechanical, civil and electrical engineering, most recently served as the interim associate dean at Wayne. In addition, Deckler was the adviser and area coordinator for engineering. He has chaired the Wayne College budget and faculty committees and the University Wide Appeals committee. He also has served as Wayne College’s representative to the Faculty Senate and as a member of the Provost Advisory Council.
Before joining The University of Akron Wayne College, he worked at Rockwell International, The Timken Company and Loral Defense systems. While in industry, he worked on the space shuttle and space station programs, the parametric bearing design software project, and the antisubmarine warfare and F-15 flight simulator programs.
Deckler earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering at Ohio Northern University in 1985, and went on to earn both an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering in 1990 and a Ph.D. in Engineering in 2002 at The University of Akron. In 1999, he earned an Ohio professional engineer’s (PE) license. More.
Dr. Roberta DePompei
Interim Dean, College of Health Professions
Distinguished Professor of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology
Dr. Roberta DePompei serves as interim dean of UA's new College of Health Professions, formerly the College of Health Sciences and Human Services.
DePompei, who joined The University of Akron in 1983, most recently served as director of the School of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology. Her major area of research and interest is in cognitive-communicative challenges to the individual with brain injury and the impact of brain injury on the family system.
An advocate for the needs of youths with brain injuries and their families, DePompei serves on numerous national and international task forces and committees. She has helped to develop support groups and a community based collaborative of agencies to problem solve issues for this population.
In 2002 she was awarded the Sheldon Berrol, M.D., Clinical Service award by the Brain Injury Association of America and she presently serves on its national board of directors.
She received the Robert L. Moody Prize — awarded by the University of Texas and the Moody Foundation — for Distinguished Initiatives in Brain Injury Research and Rehabilitation in 2004. DePompei was named a Fellow of the American Speech-Language –Hearing Association in 2006 and received the Legends Award from the North American Brain Injury Society in 2008.
DePompei earned both a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Arts in Speech Pathology and Audiology at Kent State University and a Doctor of Philosophy in Community Counseling at The University of Akron. More.
Dr. George K. Haritos
Dean, College of Engineering
Professor, Mechanical Engineering
Since 2003, Dr. George K. Haritos has served as dean of The University of Akron College of Engineering. As its senior administrator and chief academic officer, Haritos has responsibility for five academic departments – Biomedical, Chemical and Biomolecular, Civil, Electrical and Computer, and Mechanical Engineering – offering undergraduate and postgraduate engineering education. He also oversees the college’s Cooperative Engineering Education, Women in Engineering, Increasing Diversity in Engineering Academics, and Engineering Computer and Network Services programs.
Prior to joining UA, Haritos was a professor of engineering mechanics at the U.S. Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, for which he was commandant from 1999 until he retired from the Air Force after a 30-year career in 2001. As head of the institute, Haritos was responsible for administering the Air Force's graduate programs in science and engineering, acquisition, logistics, civil engineering and environmental management. He also oversaw professional continuing education courses for more than 18,000 students from the military and civilian sectors of the U.S. Department of Defense, other federal agencies and allied countries. Earlier in his career, Haritos was deputy director, associate director and commander for the Air Force Office of Scientific Research in Washington, D.C.
Haritos received a B.S. in Engineering Mechanics and an M.S. in Engineering/Mechanics and Materials at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and a doctorate in Engineering/Structural Mechanics at Northwestern University. In 2010, he was named one of the "top 100 notable alumni" of NU's Graduate School as part of its centennial celebration. More.
Dr. Ravi Krovi
Dean, College of Business Administration
Professor of Management and Information Systems
Dr. Ravi Krovi, who joined The University of Akron's College of Business Administration in 1999, was appointed dean of the college on Dec. 15, 2010, after serving as interim dean since July 1, 2009.
Krovi oversees a college that offers undergraduate degree programs in accounting, e-marketing and advertising, finance, management, marketing, sales and international business. The CBA’s graduate program is “a best business school” and “one of the best MBA programs in the world,” according to the 2009 edition of The Princeton Review's Best 296 Business Schools.
Krovi's distinguished record of service to the University includes holding positions as chair of the Department of Management from 2005-2009 and director of the Center for Information Technologies and eBusiness from 2003-2005. Krovi also played a significant role in the college's reaccreditation efforts.
A native of India, Krovi earned a B.E. in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Baroda in India in 1986. He then went on to earn both an M.S. in Mathematical Sciences (Computer Science and Statistics) and a Ph.D. in Management Information Systems at Memphis State University, in 1988 and 1993, respectively. More.
Dr. Chand K. Midha
Dean, Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences
Associate Provost for Academic and Financial Affairs
Professor of Statistics
Dr. Chand Midha was named dean of the Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences in November 2010 by The University of Akron Board of Trustees. He had served in the post on an interim basis since January 2009. The college is the largest and most diverse of UA’s degree-granting colleges with 18 departments and several programs.
In early 2011, he also was named acting interim dean of the College of Creative and Professional Arts. The college includes the Mary Schiller Myers School of Art, School of Communication, School of Music, and School of Dance, Theatre, and Arts Administration.
Midha’s distinguished record of service includes holding positions as founding chair of the Department of Statistics and liaison to the Northeast Ohio College of Medicine, or NEOMED. In 2004 he was elected a Fellow of the American Statistical Association.
He joined UA in 1983 after service as a visiting assistant professor at the University of Florida, Gainsville. He rose through the ranks in UA’s Department of Mathematical Sciences from assistant professor to become director of the Center for Statistical Consulting in 1992. In 1996, he became a full professor.
Midha earned an M.S. and PG Diploma in agricultural studies at the Indian Agricultural Statistics Research Institute, and a Ph.D. in Statistics at Iowa State University. More.
Dr. Dale Mugler
Dean, Honors College
Professor of Applied Mathematics and Biomedical Engineering
In 2005, when The University of Akron Board of Trustees approved the creation of an Honors College as an extension of the University Honors Program, Dr. Dale Mugler had already been at the helm for five years. Enrollment in the academically rigorous program has grown steadily over the past decade, helped, in part, by the construction of the Honors Complex. Completed in 2004, the combination living and learning center is part of the University’s “New Landscape for Learning” campus enhancement program.
Mugler joined UA in 1989 as an associate professor of mathematics, a position he had previously held at Santa Clara University. Since 1992, he has held a joint appointment as a professor in the mathematics and biomedical engineering departments at UA. Mugler began his academic career as a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics at Syracuse University.
He earned a B.A. in Mathematics at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and both an M.A. in Mathematics and a Ph.D. in Mathematics at Northwestern University.
Vice President for Research
Dean, Graduate School
Oelschlager Professor of Science & Technology
Professor of Polymer Science
Professor of Chemistry
In 2001, Dr. George Newkome joined The University of Akron to fill the newly created post of vice president for research. At the same time, he became dean of the Graduate School. With the dual appointments, Newkome has led UA’s efforts to expand its research infrastructure and broaden linkages with industries and foundations, as well as increasing integration of research and graduate education. Newkome also serves as president and CEO of UA's Research Foundation, founded in 2003, and, more recently, he became president of the Akron Innovation Campus.
Prior to arriving at UA, Newkome was vice president for research at the University of South Florida, which he joined in 1986. Newkome began his career as a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University, then joined Louisiana State University, where he became a full professor in 1978, and the LSU Distinguished Research Master in 1982.
Newkome earned a B.S. in Chemistry and a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry, both at Kent State University, and did postdoctoral work at Princeton University. More.
Phyllis G. O'Connor
Interim Dean, University Libraries
Professor of Bibliography
In her role as interim dean of University Libraries, Phyllis G. O'Connor oversees three libraries that support the learning and research needs of faculty and students at the Akron campus and the Medina County University Center. The libraries provide print and media resources on-site and access to more than 300 electronic databases, thousands of full text electronic journals, e-books, and other online resources that can be accessed either on campus or remotely 24/7.
O'Connor joined University Libraries in 1978 as a full-time staff member in the Circulation Department of Bierce Library. She has worked in the Dean's Office since 1989, where she facilitated the implementation of two online library systems and the electronic document delivery system. As associate dean since 2008, she has led the management of human resources, budgets, physical facilities and service operations. In addition, O'Connor served as the project manager for the recent Bierce Library Renovation and Learning Commons project.
She is considered one of the founders of OhioLINK, having led the committee that designed the statewide borrowing system. She continues to lead resource-sharing initiatives for OhioLINK and recently served two years as the statewide coordinator of Ohio's regional book depository system.
O'Connor earned a B.A. in English at The University of Akron and an MLS in Library Science at Kent State University.
Elizabeth A. Reilly
Interim Dean, School of Law
Vice Provost for Academic Planning
C. Blake McDowell Jr. Professor of Law
On July 1, 2012, Elizabeth A. Reilly became interim dean of the School of Law.
She leads a program with diverse offerings — beyond the traditional preparation for a career in law, the school offers joint degrees in business, taxation, public administration and human resource management. It also offers certificate programs in litigation and intellectual property. The School of Law's competition teams have a long history of excellence on the regional and national levels.
A full-time law faculty member, Reilly has served as vice provost since July 2011, facilitating reporting and implementation for Vision 2020, internationalization, facilities planning and new market learning initiatives.
Reilly received one of two Outstanding Teacher Scholar Awards from UA in 2004. She has been a member of the Akron Bar Association’s Board of Trustees and the Ohio Supreme Court's Rules Advisory Committee, as well as former chair of the Juvenile Rules Subcommittee. Reilly has served on the Ohio State Bar Association Council of Delegates, Juvenile Justice Committee, and Section on Women in the Profession Board of Governors. She is a current member of the Association of American Law Schools Executive Committee of the Section on Legal History, and has been a member of the AALS Section on Education Law Committee.
A member of the first class of women to attend Princeton University, she majored in English Language and Literature, and was graduated cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. Reilly received a J.D. at The University of Akron School of Law, where she was first in her class. More.