NACOGDOCHES, Texas — During its quarterly meeting Sunday, the Stephen F. Austin State University Board of Regents appointed Dr. Steve Westbrook to serve as SFA’s interim president until a permanent president assumes the office.
Former SFA president Dr. Scott Gordon and the university mutually agreed it is in the best interest of both parties for the employment relationship to end on Sunday.
Westbrook addressed regents Monday afternoon, citing his long history with and love for the university as assurance that he’s happy to be called upon to help where needed. He is coming out of retirement, he added, to help prepare the university for the upcoming legislative session and to offer guidance during the transition to a new president.
Westbrook, who was first employed by the university in 1981, served as vice president for university affairs from 2007 to 2020 and was the university’s interim president following the death of former president Dr. Baker Pattillo until Gordon’s installation as university president. Since his retirement, Westbrook has continued to serve as an adjunct faculty member and in 2021 was designated by the regents as vice president for university affairs emeritus. He holds bachelor's and master's degrees from SFA and earned a doctorate in higher education leadership from Texas A&M University - Commerce.
During Monday’s continuation of the meeting, the regents also recognized Dr. Steve Taaffe, professor of history, as Regents Scholar. Nominated by SFA faculty members, Taaffe received a $2,000 grant to support his research efforts.
In addition, the regents approved faculty and staff promotions and appointments as well as granted tenure to several faculty members effective fall 2022.
In the Rusche College of Business, regents promoted Dr. Kelly Noe to professor of accounting.
In the James I. Perkins College of Education, regents promoted Dr. Derek Cegelka to associate professor of health science, Dr. Rachel Jumper to associate professor of human sciences, Dr. Sarah Straub to associate professor of education studies, Dr. Nina Ellis-Hervey to professor of human services, Dr. Todd Whitehead to professor of kinesiology, and Dr. Robbie Steward to professor emeritus of human services.
Regents granted tenure to Cegelka; Jumper; Dr. Flóra Faragó, associate professor of human sciences; and Dr. Heather Munro, assistant professor of education studies.
In the Micky Elliott College of Fine Arts, regents promoted James Adams and Dr. Jacob Walburn to associate professors of music and Dr. J.D. Salas to professor of music. Adams and Walburn also were awarded tenure by the regents.
In the Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture, regents promoted Dr. Stephanie Jones to associate professor of agriculture and awarded her tenure.
In the College of Liberal and Applied Arts, regents promoted Dr. Jose Carbajal to associate professor of social work; Dr. John Pruit to associate professor of anthropology, geography and sociology; Dr. George Day to associate professor of government; and Drs. Dusty Jenkins and Sarah Savoy to professors of psychology.
Regents awarded tenure to Carbajal, Day and Pruit.
In the College of Sciences and Mathematics, regents promoted Drs. James Adams and Christopher Aul to associate professors of physics, engineering and astronomy; Dr. Bidisha Sengupta to associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry; and Drs. Robert Henderson and Jane Long to professors of mathematics and statistics.
Regents awarded tenure to Adams and Aul.
In the Steen Library, Shannon Bowman was promoted to librarian III, and Edward Iglesias was awarded tenure.
Regents approved the following faculty appointments in the Department of Human Services and Educational Leadership: Dr. Maria Betancourt-Smith and Dr. Richard Skuza to visiting assistant professors and Jessica Conn to visiting instructor. In the Department of Kinesiology and Health Science, Robert Clark was appointed visiting assistant professor.
For staff, regents approved the appointments of Amber Mims to program director for the Academic Assistance and Resource Center, Elizabeth Guerra to teacher at SFA Charter School, Jennifer Krause to senior representative in Human Resources, Isabel Rodriguez to area coordinator in Campus Living, Katherine West to compliance specialist in the Title IX office, Gina Oglesbee to vice president for Finance and Administration, and Jane Ann Bridges to interim chief audit executive.
In the Department of Athletics, regents approved the following staff appointments: Dennis Driscoll to associate athletic director of strategic communications; Madison Wilkerson to volleyball assistant coach; and Dylan Belanger, William Bleil, Joe Cauthen and Ikponmwosa Ike Eguae to football assistant coaches.
The regents also approved the following staff changes: Kristin Bangtson from program director of AARC to assistant director of athletics academic services, and Travis Killen from systems manager in Information Technology Services to systems assistant director in ITS.
Lastly, regents approved the retirement of Dr. Shirley Luna, executive director of University Marketing Communications, after 23 years of service.