Changes at the University of Alabama: Three new deans assume leadership roles

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The University of Alabama has named three new deans this spring, with two set to assume their leadership roles this summer. Students walk to and from classes in front of Denny Chimes on the Quad at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa on Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015. [Staff file photo]
The University of Alabama has named three new deans this spring, with two set to assume their leadership roles this summer. Students walk to and from classes in front of Denny Chimes on the Quad at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa on Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015. [Staff file photo]

The University of Alabama has named three new deans this spring, with two of them set to assume their leadership roles this summer.

Brian S. Butler will begin his tenure as dean at the College of Communication and Information Sciences on Friday, while Clifford L. Henderson will start as the dean of College of Engineering on Aug. 1.

Stacy L. Jones was named UA's dean of students in late April, after serving as interim dean of students since August 2020.

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The retirement of Mark Nelson led to Butler's hiring. Henderson will replace interim dean Ed Back, who on Aug. 1 will return to his role as chair of the department of civil, construction and environmental engineering.

Butler comes to UA from the University of Maryland and Henderson comes to Tuscaloosa from the University of South Florida, while Jones has had a nearly 30-year career at the Capstone.

Here's a look at UA's new deans:

Brian S. Butler

As senior associate dean at the University of Maryland, Butler led the hiring and development of the college’s senior staff. He also  helped create the college’s first undergraduate program, which is now the fourth-largest major on campus,  and he oversaw the design and construction of facilities expansion that doubled the space available to the college.

“Dr. Butler has demonstrated exemplary leadership in overseeing the transformation and growth of the University of Maryland College of Information Studies,” said James Dalton, UA executive vice president and provost, in a news release. “I look forward to seeing his vision for our College of Communication and Information Sciences come to life as the college’s dean.”

Brian Butler
Brian Butler

Butler’s research interests include the development and modeling of online communities and social media systems, interplay of power and information technology in organizations, and techniques for deploying complex information systems to support organizational performance, community resilience and individual well-being.

“The University of Alabama College of Communication and Information Sciences is nationally known for life changing educational programs and ground-breaking research, scholarship and creative work,” Butler said. “At a time when communication and information are increasingly central to the way we work, how we live and who we are, I am excited to be joining UA as the college’s dean and building on this tradition to grow the college’s reputation and impact as an international leader in these critical areas.”

A graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, Butler earned a bachelor of science in mathematics and computer science, and a master of science and doctorate degrees in information systems.

Stacy L. Jones

Jones has filled a variety of roles providing services and support for students at UA for more than 28 years. As dean of students, she provides leadership for the departments of student conduct, veterans and military affairs, mentoring and resiliency, student care and well-being and off-campus resources.

“The late Tom Strong, dean of students emeritus, planted a seed in 2000 when I became a part of his team in the UA Office of the Dean of Students,” Jones said. “I am hopeful each day that I have indeed blossomed into the kind of servant leader that would make him proud.

"I will continue to honor his memory by serving the students and families of my beloved alma mater with honesty, compassion, integrity and kindness.”

Stacy L. Jones
Stacy L. Jones

She is an adjunct faculty member who has taught classes on the freshman experience, leadership and social justice, as well as the history of Black Greek organizations.

Jones has been a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority for 35 years and serves the sorority on local, state and regional levels. She is currently the chair of the Tuscaloosa March for Babies and a member of the March of Dimes Alabama Market Board.

She has been involved in community service and has earned numerous awards from UA.

Jones has earned a bachelor’s degree in advertising, along with a master’s degree and a doctorate in higher education administration, all from UA.

Clifford L. Henderson

Henderson comes to UA after five years at the University of South Florida, where he served as a professor and chair of the department of chemical, biological and materials engineering. Before USF, Henderson spent more than 18 years at the Georgia Institute of Technology in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.

“Dr. Henderson was selected from a large, diverse and highly qualified pool of applicants from national and international organizations,” said Dalton, UA's executive vice president and provost. “His academic experience as teacher, researcher and collaborative leader at Georgia Tech and USF position him as the ideal leader for our College of Engineering.”

At Georgia Tech, Henderson also served as a National Science Foundation expert and program director in the NSF Division of Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation, where he led the Functional Materials Program and other related efforts.

Clifford L. Henderson
Clifford L. Henderson

He has published more than 200 papers related to his research, including more than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles, contributed to more than 400 abstracts and presentations at national and international conferences, and served as principal investigator on more than $10 million in funding from a variety of federal agencies.

Henderson said UA's engineering school has experienced dramatic growth over the last decade and boasts brand-new, state-of-the-art facilities.

“People around the U.S. and globe are becoming increasingly aware of the remarkable things happening at UA and within the college, but with the help of our terrific students, faculty, staff, administrative leaders and industry and government partners, I believe we can quickly capitalize and build on prior successes to elevate the college into a place of national engineering leadership,” he said.

Henderson earned a bachelor of science in chemical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a master of science and doctorate in chemical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.

This article originally appeared on The Tuscaloosa News: University of Alabama names three new deans, including dean of students