After several starts and stops in the search for a permanent education dean, Texas A&M University-San Antonio has landed on a candidate who began her career in the Chicago Public School System and now has more than 25 years of experience.
Emma Savage-Davis, the current dean for the College of Education, Leadership Studies and counseling at the University of Lynchburg, will helm the College of Education and Human Development at A&M-San Antonio starting Jan. 1.
Savage-Davis said A&M-San Antonio’s student population and the university’s commitment to the community is what sparked her interest in wanting to be a part of the institution.
“Also, the university has tremendous support: financial aid, support programming, academic support, [as well as] some initiatives and some centers that are doing some powerful work for all individuals to have opportunity.”
Savage-Davis expressed a desire to continue providing opportunities for students and said she looks forward to working collaboratively with the school to meet students’ needs and educational goals.
Provost Mohamed Abdelrahman said he was thrilled to have Savage-Davis join A&M-San Antonio in a Nov. 30 university announcement.
“She brings to the university a proven track record of helping students and communities succeed,” Abdelrahman said. “I’m confident she will use her impressive background and experience to enhance the university’s educational opportunities and bolster our completion rates of baccalaureate and graduate degree programs.”
Carl J. Sheperis stepped down as education dean and returned to a faculty position May 17, 2022 for “personal reasons,” according to an email from the provost’s office to all faculty and staff May 5, 2022.
Sheperis completely left A&M-San Antonio not long after and was named the vice provost and dean of graduate studies at his undergraduate alma mater, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania in March.
Suzanne Mudge, a professor in the counselor education program, became interim dean immediately after Sheperis stepped down. Mudge was then replaced by another interim in January: Amy Lewis, a professor of management in the College of Business.
The university went through two separate searches — one failed — to find a permanent dean in Savage-Davis. The first search comprised a committee of university officials, faculty, staff and a graduate student.
In an interview with The Mesquite March 10, Lizbett Tinoco said the committee didn’t see much of a commitment to stay and help the university grow from the candidates recruited from the first search. Tinoco was a member of the first search committee and is an assistant professor of English in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Tinoco also said the committee didn’t use a recruiting company for the first search.
“We didn’t feel like it was worth spending potentially thousands of dollars on a firm to help with that,” Tinoco said. “We didn’t start the search until late in the fall semester, and typically a lot of these searches start early in the academic year.”
The second time around, the university did use a recruiting firm to advertise the position and vet potential candidates. The search was narrowed down to four candidates who participated in open forums with A&M-San Antonio faculty and staff in September.
One of those candidates was Savage-Davis, who was officially announced as the new dean for the College of Education and Human Development through a university press release Nov. 30.
The salary for the education dean for the fiscal year 2022 was $156,186.
The press release said that Savage-Davis, who’s been with the University of Lynchburg since July 2021, has a doctorate in curriculum and instruction from Illinois State University and has taught at different education levels in Virginia,Tennessee, South Carolina and Illinois.
There were a few reasons for Savage-Davis’ short time with the University of Lynchburg.
“I was hired to do some accreditation work, which I have completed and have set them up for success, and I was also looking at an opportunity to move closer to my daughter,” Savage-Davis said. “I have many colleagues in Texas and look forward to working with them, but also, I wasn’t just randomly looking. I was looking for a university that I thought was moving in a visionary way.”