WCU announces first dean of College of Health and Human Sciences

Seestedt_Stanford_Linda07Linda Seestedt-Stanford (pictured), assistant dean of the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow College of Health Professions at Central Michigan University, has been named founding dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences at Western Carolina University.

The appointment of Seestedt-Stanford, effective July 1 and announced Wednesday, May 9, by WCU Provost Kyle Carter, comes after a nationwide search that began in December. She will become the first dean of a new College of Health and Human Sciences that is being formed as part of a major reorganization of the university’s academic organizational structure.

Assistant dean for the College of Health Professions at Central Michigan since 1998, Seestedt-Stanford  served as acting dean of the college during the summer of 2002. She also was director of audiology clinical instruction and services in the department of communication disorders at CMU from 1977 until 1998.

“Linda Seestedt-Stanford is coming to Western at a pivotal time in the university’s development,” Carter said. “She will be leading a college that is preparing larger numbers of students for careers in critical health-care fields and a college that is providing valuable health services to clients across Western North Carolina. She also will play a leadership role in expanding Western’s health and human services partnerships, as well as the planning and oversight for a new building for the college.”

Western is seeking construction funding for a $46 million, 145,000-square-foot School of Health and Gerontological Sciences that would be built on Millennial Initiative property adjacent to the main campus. The facility, which received planning money from the General Assembly during a previous state funding cycle, would be the anchor for a planned neighborhood of facilities and programs focusing on retirement, aging and health.

“Western Carolina is well positioned to become a recognized leader in health care education, and I am eager and prepared to support our new College of Health and Human Sciences by building on a tradition of excellence,” Seestedt-Stanford said. “I can confidently say that the next three to five years will be some of the most exciting and challenging times for the college. The new health building can provide us with a tool to positively affect teaching and learning at this institution. It can offer us a chance to think differently and potentially impact the health of our local citizens. Having a college focused on health and human sciences should support increased interdisciplinary research and promote innovative programming.”

While a member of the faculty at Central Michigan, Seestedt-Stanford also worked for more than 20 years in private health care practice in Mount Pleasant, Mich. She previously held an appointment as a health professional affiliate at Central Michigan Community Hospital, and developed and coordinated a program providing audiological assessment and intervention to deaf and hard-of-hearing infants and children in central and northern Michigan.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in communication disorders in 1973 and her master’s degree in audiology in 1974, both from Central Michigan, and her doctorate in higher, adult and lifelong education from Michigan State University in 2006.

The College of Health and Human Sciences at Western consists of the School of Nursing, School of Health Sciences, and departments of physical therapy, applied criminology, communication sciences and disorders, social work and recreational therapy.

The School of Nursing officers programs of study leading to the bachelor’s degree in nursing and to master’s degrees in nursing in three tracks – family nurse practitioner, nurse educator, and certified registered nurse anesthetist. The School of Health Sciences offers master’s degrees in health sciences with options in gerontology, management, education, and nutrition and dietetics.

The college also offers undergraduate degrees in athletic training, clinical laboratory sciences, emergency medical care, environmental health, health information administration, and nutrition and dietetics.