Purdue HHS appoints inaugural associate dean for faculty affairs

Susie Swithers

Susie Swithers

Susan E. Swithers, professor of psychological sciences in Purdue University’s College of Health and Human Sciences (HHS), has been appointed as the college’s first associate dean for faculty affairs. In this new role, she will provide additional leadership in the areas of faculty hiring and faculty professional development. Swithers’ appointment became effective Nov. 1 and will be in place for two years with the possibility of reappointment.

Swithers began her career as an assistant professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences in 1995 and was promoted to full professor in 2009. She holds a BA from the University of Virginia and a PhD from Duke University. To provide understanding of the relationship between mental processes and eating habits, Swithers’ research focuses on how experience affects the development of controls of ingestive behavior and body weight. Swithers is inaugural member of the Susan Bulkeley Butler Center for Leadership Excellence’s Coaching and Resource Network (CRN) where she provides one-on-one mentoring and advising to assistant and associate professors. She has also served as a facilitator for the Butler Center’s roundtable series and was a panel moderator for the center’s 2019 conference for pre-tenure faculty.

Swithers served as associate department head of the Department of Psychological Sciences from 2020-2021, as director of undergraduate studies for the Department of Psychological Sciences from 2014-2019, as chair of the University’s Undergraduate Curriculum Council from 2018-2019, and as the HHS dean’s fellow for undergraduate education from 2013-2014. Her commitment to excellence in undergraduate teaching has also been recognized by her inclusion in Purdue’s Book of Great Teachers in 2018, her receipt of the Jane S. Link Outstanding Teaching Award from the College of Health and Human Sciences in 2019, and her receipt of the Charles B. Murphy Award for outstanding undergraduate teaching in 2020 and subsequent induction into Purdue’s Teaching Academy.

“Dr. Swithers is ideally suited for this new associate dean for faculty affairs position because of her deep knowledge of the policies and procedures of Purdue University, her demonstrated commitment to equity and fairness, and her track record in leading faculty professional development programs,” says Marion K. Underwood, distinguished professor of psychological sciences and dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences.

Since spring 2019, Swithers has served as the dean’s fellow for faculty development, and in this role, she has led HHS’ efforts in professional development for tenure-track/tenured and clinical/professional faculty. As associate dean for faculty affairs, she will continue to focus on professional development of faculty while also serving as the college’s primary academic contact with the Office of the Provost for faculty hiring. She will also continue to collaborate with Tom Berndt, senior associate dean for academic affairs and administration, on faculty promotion and tenure processes.

The College of Health and Human Sciences has experienced remarkable growth and is on track to grow even further. In fall 2021, the college welcomed 25 new faculty members. Currently, 36 faculty member searches are underway for fall 2022, including eight new faculty lines plus nine of 14 new faculty positions in the cluster hire in Public Health, Health Equity, and Health Policy (a major initiative of the Purdue University Board of Trustees Equity Task Force). Also this year, 24 of HHS’ 268 faculty members will be evaluated for promotion and tenure. As associate dean for faculty affairs, Swithers will facilitate strong and effective professional development support for these faculty and all HHS faculty.