Dr. Denise Seabert, whose research and academic background is in health education and teacher preparation, has been named dean of the College of Health and Human Services at Fresno State, effective July 1.
Seabert has served as dean of the Usha Kundu, MD College of Health at the University of West Florida, in Pensacola, since July 2018. At the college, Seabert helped build strong community connections and partnerships that allowed the university to develop a grassroots effort to address the health needs of people in the community — an initiative she plans to continue at Fresno State.
Under her leadership, the young college developed a strategic plan, wrote bylaws, established a college advising center and worked collaboratively to create a true college culture. People felt connected in the college and with the work they were doing, Seabert said.
“I’m thrilled that Dean Denise Seabert will lead the College of Health and Human Services. Dean Seabert is a visionary and experienced leader,” said Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Fresno State. “I’m confident that her passion for excellence will create great synergy within the college, and will in turn build strong bridges of collaboration and support with our community partners. Her visionary leadership will be transformational, especially during these times.”
Seabert succeeds Dr. James Marshall, who was appointed interim dean in August 2019. Marshall will return to his position as dean of the Division of Research and Graduate Studies at Fresno State.
The College of Health and Human Services prepares students for professions in nursing, communicative sciences and deaf studies, physical therapy, recreation administration, kinesiology, public health and social work. Two of the three doctoral programs at the University exist within the college. In fall 2019, more than 4,100 students enrolled in the college, the highest number of any college at Fresno State.
Before becoming dean of the College of Health at the University of West Florida, Seabert spent 15 years at Ball State University in Indiana where she served in a number of positions, including associate dean for external affairs and community engagement, chair of the Department of Physiology and Health Science, director of the London Centre for the Rinker Center for International Programs and professor of health education.
Seabert’s research and academic background is in teacher preparation and helping to develop academic and professional standards that guide practice. She continues to be an author on textbooks to help influence the way health is taught to different populations.
“I believe my work helps me as a leader to help others think about teaching — how to improve their teaching, try new approaches,” Seabert said. “I have a strong connection to evaluation and assessment, which is critical. Those are strengths I can use to help build capacity in our college, to help faculty grow their teaching skills especially during these challenging times.”
A Washington state native, Seabert earned her bachelor’s in school health education from Western Washington University, her master’s in school and college health from Indiana University and her Ph.d. in health behavior with a minor in curriculum and instruction from the University of Florida.
Seabert is married to Matt Bailey and they have three sons; Clark, 20; Nathan, 17 and Elias, 15.