Chris Cheney named dean of College of Education

6/2/2010 - By: Jane Tors

Chris Cheney has been named dean of the University’s College of Education. Cheney is professor of special education and chair of the department of educational specialties, a role she has filled since the department’s founding in 2003.

Cheney’s commitment to her students and to teaching is particularly exemplified by two awards. In 2002 Cheney was awarded the F. Donald Tibbitts Memorial Distinguished Teacher Award, which is presented annually and is considered the University’s most prestigious teaching award. Cheney was awarded the Regents Undergraduate Advisor Award in 2001 by the Nevada Board of Regents. She is also a past winner of two important College of Education awards, the Outstanding Outreach, National Education Week Award and the Cashell Outstanding Instructor Award.

“Chris has dedicated her career to preparing tomorrow’s teachers, and she is an outstanding teacher herself,” said Marc Johnson, University provost. “She has contributed to the body of knowledge for her field of study through grant-supported projects and numerous publications, and she has an impressive record of University service and leadership within the College of Education.”

Cheney earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology and master’s degree in special education from The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va. She spent five years working in public school systems, and earned her Ed.D. in special education from Indiana University. She came to the University of Nevada, Reno in 1984 as an assistant professor of special education in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction, and went on to help create the department she chairs today.

“Her conversations with me have shown me that Chris has the ability and passion to lead the college through its reorganization and position it for growth in the future,” said Johnson.

“There are many who participated in this process,” he added. “I would like to thank the search committee members for their efforts. I would also like to thank all the candidates for the position who enthusiastically participated in the process, and the faculty and staff who attended the candidate forums.”

Cheney’s appointment as dean is a two-year appointment. She replaces Bill Sparkman, who has served as the college’s dean since 1998 and announced his decision to step down and return to the faculty as of July 1, 2010.

“Bill is widely respected across campus and is recognized as the consummate colleague, gentlemen and University ambassador,” said Johnson. “I know his colleagues – especially his fellow deans – join me in acknowledging his many contributions to this University.”


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