Melanie Hart, Ph.D., has been named associate dean for Academic and Faculty Affairs of the UAB School of Health Professions. She comes to UAB after 19 years at Texas Tech University where she served in many leadership roles including associate dean for the College of Arts and Sciences, vice provost for eLearning and Academic Partnerships, and most recently, vice provost for Administrative Affairs.

“The reputation of UAB was what drew me to the job at first, and as I did more research about the school, it became evident that I wanted to be a part of these quality programs,” said Hart.

“Melanie will oversee the recruitment, support and retention of our faculty and students and we are asking her to nurture an atmosphere of sharing, kindness and belonging in order to succeed in today’s academic environment,” said Andrew J. Butler, Ph.D., dean, School of Health Professions. “I am confident in and excited for the future of our school – and our people – because Melanie brings such a unique combination of strengths to this position.”

In 2022, Butler unveiled a five-year strategic growth plan to redefine and refocus a portion of the school’s long-term goals in four pillar areas: education, research & innovation, community engagement, and clinical enterprise. Hart will lead the effort in the Education pillar to further expand a dynamic portfolio of programs and to advance faculty in areas of teaching, scholarship, and service.

During her tenure at Texas Tech, Hart established a division for online and distance education. She played a significant role in the COVID 19 transition of classes from on-campus to online. And she worked extensively in continuing and professional education, faculty and graduate student affairs, plus, tenure and promotion.

“The strategic plan that has been developed provides a great road map for moving forward; however, there is no easy way of doing this, it will be one of the important team efforts,” said Hart. “I know some areas already have programs in mind to develop, but we will need to conduct thorough research on the need and determine what personnel is needed. To increase enrollment, we need to learn more about who our students are and then determine what populations we are not reaching.”

In 2021, Hart earned the Faculty Distinguished Leadership Award from the Texas Tech Parents Association. She has mentored faculty in academics, academia, and life throughout her career. She has chaired and served on several doctoral committees. And she has published numerous refereed articles and book chapters.

In her first 90 days at the School of Health Professions, she plans to see where her vast experience fits with the needs of those she will serve for years to come.

“I learned a lot during the interview process, but there is still a lot to learn. It is important to listen to the needs of the people who will be my partners in this journey,” said Hart. “One suggestion that kept coming up during the interview was a need for mentoring. Establishing mentoring programs and development opportunities are long-term priorities. But once I have completed the listening sessions, we will start to develop all the appropriate opportunities for the school.”

Hart earned a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education and a Master of Science in Scientific Bases of Exercise from Texas Tech University. She earned a PhD in Kinesiology/Motor Behavior from Auburn University. Her first day at UAB is January 2, 2023.