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June 27, 2006

Narayan Bhat Named Interim Dean of SMU's School of Education and Human Development

Photo of U. Narayan Bhat
U. Narayan Bhat is interim dean of SMU's School of Education and Human Development (click photo for high-resolution version).

DALLAS (SMU) — U. Narayan Bhat, long-time SMU administrator and faculty member, has been named dean ad interim of the University's School of Education and Human Development. His one-year appointment is effective July 1. A search committee will conduct a national search for a permanent dean to succeed Robert Patterson, who is retiring as the school's dean.

SMU's School of Education and Human Development was established in 2005 to meet increasing demands for teacher education, which has long been a part of SMU's academic offerings, and to expand the University's programs in other areas.

Bhat retired in May 2005 after serving as SMU's dean of research and graduate studies and professor of statistical science and operations research in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences at SMU. He joined the SMU faculty in 1969. In addition to teaching, he has served in numerous administrative roles, including chair of several academic departments, vice provost and dean of graduate studies, associate dean for academic affairs and dean ad interim of Dedman College, as well as associate dean of the School of Engineering. Bhat received the SMU Trustees' Distinguished Service Award in May 2004.

"Narayan Bhat has served the University with dedication and distinction in every role he has been called upon to fill through the years," said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. "We are fortunate that he has agreed to lead the School of Education and Human Development in the coming year. We can count on him to provide strong leadership that will keep this new school moving forward."

Aside from his teaching and administrative leadership, Bhat is a highly respected scientist whose primary research interests are in queueing theory and applied stochastic processes. He has written numerous scholarly articles and a graduate-level textbook and co-authored another book. He received bachelor’s degrees in education and mathematics from the University of Madras and a master’s in statistics from Karnatak University, all in India, followed by a Ph.D. from The University of Western Australia.

The Division of Education in the new SMU school offers undergraduate teacher certification programs; graduate-level certificate and degree programs, including bilingual education programs; and professional development for educators. The division also includes the Gifted Students Institute and the Institute for Reading Research, which has been awarded approximately $10 million in research grants since it was established in 2003. Its current research projects include strategies to promote reading skills in Spanish-speaking children and children with moderate mental retardation.

The school's Division of Human Development brings together new programs of the Center for Dispute Resolution and Conflict Management with several longstanding programs offered through the Department of Lifelong Learning. These include evening programs leading to a bachelor's degree and the Master of Liberal Studies degree, noncredit continuing studies, and programs for youth. The school offers programs both on SMU's Dallas campus and at SMU-in-Legacy in Plano.

"The new School of Education and Human Development represents SMU's renewed commitment to teacher education and serves the broader community through diverse programs that benefit both individuals and society," said Thomas Tunks, interim SMU provost and vice president for academic affairs. "The school had an impressive first year of operation under the leadership of Robert Patterson, and we look forward to its continued advancement under Narayan Bhat."