Meet The Deans 2022

Feb 21st, 2022

Meet The Deans 2022

HPU has 10 academic schools, and each is equipped with innovative curricula, expert faculty and caring mentors. Learn more about the deans of each school below:

Michael Oudshoorn Webb School of Engineering

Michael Oudshoorn

Dean of the Webb School of Engineering

Dr. Michael Oudshoorn joined HPU’s faculty in 2018 as founding dean of the Webb School of Engineering. Oudshoorn has more than 30 years of experience as an educator. His career began at the University of Adelaide, Australia where he worked for 20 years teaching computer science. He also served as the associate dean (international) for the faculty of engineering, mathematical and computer sciences where he was responsible for international student recruitment and management of the faculty’s articulation and off-shore programs in Singapore and Malaysia. He relocated to the U.S. in 2003 and has held positions in several institutions as a dean or department chair. Since 2004, he has served as an ABET program evaluator, being involved in the development of accreditation criteria for computer science programs. He is currently serving his second six-year term as an ABET commissioner and was elected to the Executive Committee in 2018. He has experience in designing and developing new degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Most recently he led the development of a cybersecurity degree at a Midwestern University. Since arriving at HPU, he has created a computer engineering and an electrical engineering degree.

Education: B.Sc. in computer science and applied mathematics; B.Sc. (Hons) in computer science; Ph.D. in computer science, University of Adelaide, Australia.

What he loves most about being dean: “No two days are alike! The job has a lot of different facets from dealing with student issues, advocating for faculty, working on budgets, building relationships with external partners, student recruitment to showcasing our incredible facilities. I am certainly not bored! But the best part is the people I get to work with every day to make it all happen.”

What sets HPU’s School of Engineering apart: “Most engineering schools are not in a liberal arts environment. We produce professionals in engineering, computer science and mathematics which have the critical thinking, analytical skills, problem solving abilities and communication skills necessary for success in their chosen career. Small classes with great interaction between faculty and students is a hallmark of HPU’s education.”

Favorite Quote:  “We are continually faced by great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems.” – Lee Iacocca, American engineer and automobile executive

Virginia McDermott 

Dean of the Nido R. Qubein School of Communication

Dr. Virginia McDermott joined HPU’s faculty in 2010 to design and direct the Strategic Communication M.A. Program, which allows exceptional students to start taking graduate classes their senior year. Her research interests include: how communication campaigns can be used to address health behaviors, disparities and social inequities; how problematic events affect our conversations and relationships; and how communication can facilitate coping. She and her students have addressed various health risk issues, including teen pregnancy and prescription drug abuse by using a community-based approach to campaign development. Her publications include articles in “The Journal of International and Intercultural Communication” and “Communication Theory.” McDermott previously worked at the University of New Mexico as a faculty member in the Department of Communication and Journalism. She has extensive experience in organizational training and specializes in seminars on how to develop a positive organizational environment.

Education: B.A. in communication, The College of New Jersey; M.A. in communication, Texas State University; Ph.D. in communication, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

What she loves most about being dean: “Being the dean of the NQSC gives me the opportunity to do my favorite things — help people and create community. I am lucky to be able to support students and colleagues as they bring their great ideas to fruition.”

What sets HPU’s School of Communication apart: “Opportunity. The faculty and staff of the NQSC are committed to creating paths to success. That starts with providing exceptional instructional quality, including the mentoring outside of the classroom. We are lucky to have extraordinary facilities, equipment and the resources to continue to provide students the tools they need. We are also supported by involved and connected alumni and a professional advisory board. Together, this combination of incredibly talented and committed faculty and staff working in great facilities with an extensive network of supporters means our students can accomplish almost anything.”

Favorite Quote: From James Norbury’s illustrated book, “Big Panda and Tiny Dragon”: “’Which is more important,’ asked Big Panda. ‘The journey or the destination?’ ‘The company,’ said Tiny Dragon.”

Brett Woods

Interim Dean of the Wanek School of Natural Sciences

Dr. Brett Woods has been a member of HPU’s faculty since 2016 when he started as an associate professor of biology, teaching animal physiology and biology. He has also served as director of HPU’s pre-health advising program, helping students navigate their journey to the best professional health programs. Before coming to HPU, Woods taught at the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater, Beloit College and Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. He worked with underrepresented students helping secure more than $150,000 in grants to support them in science, technology, engineering and math endeavors. Woods also worked at Northwestern University as a post-doctoral researcher studying circadian clocks in small mammals. He is the recipient of the 2014 University of Wisconsin System Regents Diversity Award and the HPU Think Big Grant to build college summer workshops that prepare underrepresented and minority students for successful completion of degrees in STEM. He has extensive experience in lecturing, advising, curriculum development, public speaking and youth leadership. Currently, his research focuses on the process that governs fat deposition, as well as the behaviors that lead an organism to gain mass, especially in preparation for hibernation. Woods and his students study woodchucks, a medium-sized ground squirrel that hibernates every winter.

Education: B.A. in biology, University of California, Berkeley; Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology, The University of Kansas.

What he loves most about being dean: “I love directing the mission of our school. Our mission is to foster in students the knowledge, talent, and leadership skills that will allow them to make significant contributions to our understanding of the natural world. We are student-focused, and I believe I play an important role in inspiring and supporting both our faculty and students towards our mutual goal of excellence.”

What sets HPU’s School of Natural Sciences apart: “It’s faculty. Our faculty conduct research and are well published in excellent journals. Students can work directly with faculty in preparation for their future. We are an active learning school. Students learn how to become scientists by being scientists. We are also a school that depends on preparing its students for the health professions. To that end, our students must engage in a rigorous curriculum that prepares them for exams, such as the MCAT, DAT, GRE, etc. These exams are not easy. The excellence by which our faculty teach these materials prepares our students. The care and support our students receive from faculty is beyond any institution I have experienced. The deepness of the relationship between faculty and student goes beyond the classroom in a way that I find unparalleled. Our student bar is high, but our faculty’s dedication to the student is higher.”

Favorite Quote: “And therefore as a stranger give it welcome. There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” – Hamlet, Act I, Scene V.

Amy Holcombe

Dean of the Stout School of Education

Dr. Amy Holcombe joined HPU’s faculty in 2018. She most recently served as executive director for strategic planning and development and executive director of talent development for Guilford County Schools. During her tenure with Guilford County Schools, Holcombe launched North Carolina’s first in-district licensure program for teachers. Since its inception in 2008, this program has licensed over 600 teachers, won four national awards and has been featured in Education Week. As executive director of talent development, Holcombe led Mission Possible, which is the longest running comprehensive compensation program in North Carolina. Mission Possible has been featured on the front page of “The New York Times,” and in “ASCD’s Educational Leadership,” “Education Week,” The School Administrator” and “Principal Leadership.” Over the course of her professional career, Dr. Holcombe has written and won more than $95 million in competitive grants. She has been named Technology Teacher of the Year for the state of North Carolina twice and has received numerous national awards for her work in the area of human capital management. She has published and presented nationally on the topics of teacher effectiveness, performance-based compensation, human capital management, alternative certification and education leadership.

Education: B.A. in English journalism, Sonoma State University; M.Ed. in English, University of North Carolina Greensboro; M.S.A., North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University; Ph.D. in curriculum and teaching, University of North Carolina Greensboro.

What she loves most about being dean: “As a dean, I most value having the opportunity to work one-on-one with students, mentoring them and guiding them along their professional pathways. In education, we are in the business of training our replacements so there is strong motivation to invest 100% of ourselves into our students who will be tomorrow’s teachers. My calling has always been to educate our future generations so I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to engage in this work every day.”

What sets HPU’s School of Education apart: “The Stout School of Education provides our students an education in authentic settings. This means that students are placed in local K-12 school settings every single year of their college career, not just in their senior, as is done in other schools.  While learning on campus, students receive instruction in three different learning labs — The Shelton Innovation Lab (STEM), the Sheehy Specialized Curriculum Lab (Special Education) and the Literacy Learning Lab. Each classroom simulates an actual K-12 setting complete with learning technologies, textbooks, furniture and learning walls. Our graduates walk into their first jobs so well prepared, other teachers often do not know that they are beginning teachers!”

Favorite Quote: “I am not a teacher, but an awakener.” –  Robert Frost

Scott S. De Rossi

Dean of the School of Dental Medicine and Oral Health

Dr. Scott S. De Rossi is the founding dean of the School of Dental Medicine and Oral Health. Before joining HPU as a founding faculty member in 2021, De Rossi served as dean and professor for the Adams School of Dentistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has held numerous other reputable roles such as professor of oral medicine, director of the Clinical Center for Oral Medicine, and chairman of Oral Health and Diagnostic Sciences at the Augusta University Dental College of Georgia. De Rossi is a recipient of the International Association of Dental Research Innovation in Oral Care Award, the Herschfus Award from the AAOM, the Judson C. Hickey Excellence in Teaching Award from the Medical College of Georgia, and the Alumni Award of Merit from the University of Pennsylvania. He has also served on the board of trustees and executive committee of the American Academy of Oral Medicine and maintains memberships in the American Dental Association, American Dental Education Association, and the American Association of Dental Research.

Education: B.S. in biology, Providence College; D.M.D., University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine; certificate in oral medicine, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center; M.B.A., Augusta University.

What he loves most about being dean: “Being a founding dean is an incredible amount of work, but it has been the most rewarding thing I have ever done professionally. The thing I love most is the creating – being bold, innovative, courageous, entrepreneurial and pushing the limits of my abilities, our teams’ abilities and the status quo to fundamentally change the way we educate dental students, discover new knowledge and provide care for patients.”

What sets HPU’s School of Dental Medicine and Oral Health apart: “Oral health and general well-being are inextricably bound, and we are committed to educating nimble oral health professionals capable of critical thinking and clinical reasoning with the agility to adapt to changing demographics of disease, innovative technologies and emerging models of healthcare delivery. We will educate physicians of the oral and maxillofacial region who have the technical and surgical skills to provide care in the fullest scope of dental medicine. And we will put those who need our care at the center of everything we do.”

Favorite Quote: “There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go, if he does not mind who gets the credit.”Ronald Reagan

Ken Elston

Interim Dean of the School of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences

Ken Elston joined HPU’s faculty in 2019 as the associate dean of arts and sciences and director of performing arts. He is the previous director of the School of Theater at George Mason University and artistic director of the not-for-profit theater company, Footsteps In Time. Elston has also served as the resident theater artist at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland. He has experience teaching acting, directing, writing and new work development, and specializes in movement for the stage. Elston is an actor himself and has performed for stage, television and film. His stage appearances include off-Broadway and regional credits from Theater of the First Amendment, Washington Shakespeare Company, the Bush Theater, Missouri Rep, ACT, Intiman and Bucks County Playhouse. He also has experience directing with credits from off-Broadway, university and regional theaters. Elston has directed fringe work in London and Dubrovnik, and two productions for Nanjing University in Nanjing, China. He has lectured across the United States and internationally. He is currently a member of Actor’s Equity, SAG, AFTRA, Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, and the Association of Theatre Movement Educators. Elston is also a professional consultant in the area of presentation skills. As a playwright, Elston has had plays produced with universities and professional companies.

Education: B.A., Temple University; M.F.A., The Ohio State University.

What he loves most about being dean: “I love working with smart and creative people, and our faculty are brilliant, passionate and humane. Working with such a team is a consistent privilege.”

What sets HPU’s School of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences apart: “Our graduates know both what they want to do and how they want to live. In HPU’s School of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences, we believe that the best preparation for a brave new world is made by providing our students with broad general knowledge and discipline-based inquiry, coupled with the ability to collaborate and integrate knowledge, the ability to think critically, to communicate clearly and to solve complex and novel problems, all while exercising sound ethical judgment and practicing global cultural competency. Moreover, we work to empower our students to develop those cognitive and social skills that will lead not just to success but to significance.”

Favorite Quote: “Be good, and, if you can’t be good, be careful.” – Gerhard A. Elston, former executive director of Amnesty International, USA, and Elston’s dad

Also, “Thy life’s a miracle.” – William Shakespeare, from “King Lear”

John Turpin 

Dean of the David R. Hayworth School of Arts and Design

Dr. John Turpin is the founding dean of the School of Arts and Design and professor of interior design. Prior to joining HPU in 2011, he served as chair for the Department of Interior Design at Washington State University where he participated in a number of interdisciplinary courses and activities at the Interdisciplinary Design Institute in Spokane, Washington. He is a member of the Interior Design Educators Council’s College of Fellows, a founding editor of “Interiors: Design, Architecture, Culture” and the past editor-in-chief of the “Journal of Interior Design.” Honors he has received include: DesignIntelligence’s Most Admired Educators of 2011, WSU University College Assessment Leadership Award, three-time Student Choice Award for Academic Excellence in Teaching, IDEC Presidential Award, and IDEC Awards of Excellence for Research and Service. He has been on the Board of Visitors for the Council of Interior Design Accreditation since 1999. Turpin continues to develop and enhance new, relevant, high-quality programs that will allow his graduates an opportunity to become future change agents.

Education: B.S. in interior design, Florida State University; M.S. in architecture, University of Cincinnati; Ph.D. in design history, theory and criticism, Arizona State University.

What he loves most about being dean: “It really isn’t about being dean. I enjoy thoroughly working with my team of faculty and staff to bring the arts to life at HPU. Much of that is very much centered on helping our students evolve into thoughtful, creative, intentional artists, designers, technicians and performers who will continue this mission well into the future.”

What sets HPU’s School of Arts and Design apart: “At HPU, students will certainly learn their art form, opening many doors for their professional careers, but we are also invested in developing the individual to be a well-rounded, productive, empathetic citizen of our global community. We model these values and expect them from our students as they depart our campus as change agents.”

Favorite Quote: “They seemed to come suddenly upon happiness as if they had surprised a butterfly in the woods.” – Edith Wharton (excerpted from “Ethan Frome”)

Kevin Ford

Dean of Congdon School of Health Sciences

Dr. Kevin Ford is a world-renowned expert and accomplished researcher in biomechanics and sports medicine with over 170 peer-reviewed articles. He has been at HPU since 2012 in the Department of Physical Therapy and brings over 25 years of experience in biomechanics, research and other health science-related fields. He previously spent 12 years at one of the top ranked pediatric hospitals in the nation, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, where he was the co-director of research in sports medicine and assistant professor in pediatrics at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. He has served as principal investigator or co-investigator on multiple National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants, in addition to consistent industry and foundation support, totaling over $6 million in funding. Ford has received numerous research awards highlighting his contributions to the scientific literature including the HPU Ruth Ridenhour Scholarly and Professional Achievement Award in 2016. In 2010, he was awarded Fellow status (FACSM) within the American College of Sports Medicine. Ford received the 2012 Nicolas Andry Award from the Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons, for a body of work conducted and published over an extended period of time that deals with the musculoskeletal system and has significantly contributed to orthopaedic knowledge and practice. Additionally, his research has received the prestigious O’Donoghue Award in 2005 and in 2015 from the American Society for Sports Medicine, awarded to the best overall paper which deals with clinical-based research or human in-vivo research. He was recognized with the Clinical Research Award in 2016 from the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation (OREF). From the American Physical Therapy Association, he has received the 2016 Excellence in Research Award and the 2015 George J. Davies – James A. Gould Excellence in Clinical Inquiry Award for the most outstanding clinical practice article that was published within the “Journal of Sports Physical Therapy” during the calendar year. In addition, Ford has been appointed as an ad-hoc scientific review member on numerous NIH study sections since 2013 including: Musculoskeletal Oral and Skin Sciences (MOSS); Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases Clinical Trials Review Committee (AMSC); Neurological Aging and Musculoskeletal Epidemiology (NAME).

Education: B.A. in kinesiology; M.S. in biomechanics; Ph.D. in exercise science — biomechanics, University of Kentucky.

What he loves most about being dean: “Fostering a supportive and inclusive environment for our faculty, staff and students to impact our community in positive and meaningful ways.”

What sets HPU’s School of Health Sciences apart: “We prepare exceptional and compassionate students for rewarding and in-demand careers as healthcare professionals for the future as it is going to be. The faculty consists of internationally renowned leaders that share the vision of integrating and translating interdisciplinary knowledge and life skills through a collaborative and evidence-based approach.”

Favorite Quote: Theodore Roosevelt’s “Man in the Arena” section from his “Citizen in a Republic” speech: “It’s not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly . . . who at best knows the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”

Daniel Hall

Interim Dean of the Earl N. Phillips School of Business

Dr. Daniel Hall joined HPU in 2010 and is passionate about experiential learning teaching through using experiments, debates, trips, bringing in practitioners as speakers, discussion walks and service-learning. He has received grants from the HPU Think Big Program and the Charles Koch Foundation supporting their project to create the iPad applications that help teach economic principles using market experiments. He has peer-reviewed articles that can be found in “Research in Experimental Economics,” “Games,” “Libertarian Papers” and the “Journal of Economics and Finance Education.” Hall has conducted research including the subjects: how trust varies under different property right entitlement settings; how the efficiency-equality trade-off can be modeled as a public goods problem; how government provision of public goods crowd out voluntary provision; and how economic analysis can help service organizations. Hall also incorporates his work with service clubs into his teaching of service-learning courses. He was honored as Service Learning Professor of the Year for the 2013-2014 academic year and was recently awarded the Spirit of High Point University Award in 2021.

Education: B.S. in economics, Georgia State College and State University; M.A. and Ph.D. in economics, Georgia State University.

What he loves most about being dean: “I love helping students, staff and faculty flourish in achieving their goals. I love the variety of meetings and challenges that occur each day. The pace of the position matches my energy and passion for High Point University.”

What sets HPU’s School of Business apart: “Our extraordinary students! We are focused on accelerating students’ career readiness through the relationships we build, the co-curricular activities and our career-aligned curriculum. The sooner they find their career path the sooner they turn their focus to acquiring the skills that will help them stand out. When they stand out, it sets the business school apart!”

Favorite Quote: “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston S. Churchill

Earle “Buddy” William Lingle, Jr.

Dean of the Fred Wilson School of Pharmacy

Dr. Earle “Buddy” Lingle began at HPU in 2014 as a professor and associate dean of the school of pharmacy. Lingle has more than 35 years of experience working in higher education which includes, being a tenured associate professor at the University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy, as well as professor and associate chair at the South University School of Pharmacy in Columbia, South Carolina. While at the University of South Carolina, Lingle was honored as the College of Pharmacy’s Teacher of the Year. He also was recognized with the Mortar Board’s Excellence in Teaching Award and was honored by the Office of Student Affairs as the Professor Making Significant Contributions to Student Development. He has served on the South Carolina Policy Council Education Foundation, Inc. as president. Lingle has refereed publications in multiple pharmaceutical journals including the “Journal of Research in Pharmaceutical Economics,” “American Pharmacy,” “Journal of Pharmacy Teaching,” “Inquiry” and “Pharmacoeconomics.” He has presented seminars and papers across the U.S. on the economics, politics, ethics, education and reform of pharmaceutical health care. He is the author or contributor to eight books on the topics.

Education: B.S. in pharmacy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; M.S. in pharmacy administration, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Ph.D. in pharmacy administration (emphasis in public affairs, LBJ School of Public Affairs), University of Texas at Austin.

What he loves most about being dean: “One of the things I enjoy about being a dean is being in a position to not only watch our students grow in the four years that they are in our program but to be a part of their lives and their future. Second, it has been a distinct pleasure working with the faculty, administration and staff across the HPU campus. For the first time in my 37-year academic career, I feel as if I am a member of a true academic community.”

What sets HPU’s School of Pharmacy apart: “The Fred Wilson School of Pharmacy has many distinctive parts of its curriculum and professional activities but I truly believe we set ourselves apart from other schools in the caring nature of our faculty and staff. They know that for the school to be successful our students must be successful and they make great efforts to do that.”

Favorite Quote: “Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” – Theodore Roosevelt