New leaders at the helm of Kimmel School, College of Education


There is a pair of new faces at meetings of the Deans’ Council these days after the appointment of new leadership for two of Western Carolina University’s undergraduate colleges last year – actually, make that one new face and one not-so-new-face. The new dean of the Kimmel School of Construction Management and Technology joins WCU from Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta, Georgia, while the new dean of the College of Education and Allied Professions has been a WCU faculty member since 1979.

Jeffrey L. Ray

Jeffrey L. Ray (at left), dean of the Kimmel School of Construction Management and Technology, meets with Lisa Leatherman (center), Duke Energy’s district manager for Jackson County, and Bora Karayaka, assistant professor of engineering and technology, to see some of the new equipment purchased for WCU’s electric power engineering laboratory with a $75,000 gift from the Duke Energy Foundation.

Jeffrey L. Ray, who had been dean of the School of Engineering Technology and Management at Southern Polytechnic State, took over the reins of the Kimmel School effective Aug. 1. Ray, dean and professor of mechanical engineering technology at SPSU since 2007, filled a vacancy created by the departure of James Zhang, who accepted the position of provost at Kettering University in Flint, Michigan, after leading the Kimmel School since October 2012.

“Dr. Ray brings a wealth of experience in engineering education, working with industry and in developing engaged learning opportunities for students and faculty,” Provost Alison Morrison-Shetlar said. “His ability to work with many different types of business and industry, his reputation and leadership positions in his professional organizations and his interdisciplinary collaborations are all attributes that will bring recognition to the Kimmel School, building on the very strong foundation that James Zhang and the faculty and staff of the Kimmel School have developed.”

During his tenure as dean at SPSU, Ray helped develop his school’s first strategic plan, coordinated three major accreditation processes, and acquired funding for more than $2.5 million in new and replacement equipment. He also created and developed two new undergraduate programs and one new graduate program that were approved by the Georgia Board of Regents.

Dale Carpenter

Dale Carpenter (left), dean of the College of Education and Allied Professions, first joined the WCU faculty in 1979 as a professor of special education.

Earlier in 2014, Morrison-Shetlar announced the appointment of Dale Carpenter, who had been serving in an interim leadership role in the College of Education and Allied Professions since July 2012, as permanent dean of the college. “Dr. Carpenter is a highly regarded and respected leader on campus, regionally and nationally and is a sought-after presenter and assessor in his area of expertise,” she said. “He has done an excellent job leading the College of Education and Allied Professions for the past two years and has proven himself more than up to the task of continuing in this role in a permanent capacity.”

Carpenter had been filling a vacancy created by the departure of Perry Schoon, who left the university in 2012 to become dean of the College of Education at Illinois State University.

“For more than 30 years, I have loved being associated with Western Carolina University and I have always been proud of what we do in the College of Education and Allied Professions,” Carpenter said. “It is no secret to my colleagues that I have looked up to many of the current and retired faculty as models for teaching, service and research and I have been very proud of what our alumni have accomplished.”