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Q&A with APLU Board on Health and Human Sciences Chair Jana Hawley

Your Name: Jana Hawley
Your Title: Dean and Professor
Your Institution: University of North Texas
Year You Started Your Current Role: 2018

What’s the most exciting work your APLU Council or Commission is currently undertaking? The APLU Board on Health and Human Science has recently undergone strategic planning. One result of that plan was the decision to add health to our name. We are pleased to announce that in Fall 2022, we changed our name to the Board on Health and Human Sciences. As we think about the wide variety of disciplines represented in our programs, it was clear that health was missing in our name. We view health from both a broad and an applied perspective. Broadly speaking, we believe our disciplines focus on healthy families, healthy individuals, and healthy communities. From an applied perspective, we are passionate about improving the health and well-being of people through our research, teaching, service, and outreach. Our breadth of programs range from nutrition and exercise science to human development and family studies, consumer sciences and more. We are rich with history, but focused on the future.

Adding health to our name and to our scope gives us opportunities to grow our membership. Because one of our most important missions is to advocate for the human sciences we need more members to help us share the important work that we do to legislators, constituents, and industry.

[For information on getting involved in the APLU Board on Health and Human Sciences, contact BHHS Executive Director Kelly Dalton]

What are the biggest challenges and opportunities facing individuals in your role on campus? Today’s university leaders are faced with a student population that has been impacted by the pandemic. We see issues centered on social anxiety, lack of academic preparedness, loneliness and low self-esteem. Those of us who work in the health and human science disciplines are well attuned to these challenges. The other challenge come from ever-evolving technology and its impact on learning, integrity, and engagement.

What are the most important and valuable partnerships on campus for individuals in your role? For me, the collegiality among the deans is invaluable. We work collaboratively to develop interdisciplinary programs, share ideas, strategize about budgets and develop initiatives to increase enrollments and improve retention rates. But I also value the faculty and staff within my own college and the joy we have working together to make our college stronger. Like we say, we are the people-college, and that is reflected among us, but also with our students and the industries we serve (hospitality and retail).

Describe your university in three words. Caring, creative, student-focused

What experience best prepared your current role? Along the way, I have had increasing levels of leadership responsibility, but I could not have done it without all of those who have mentored me along the way.

What is your favorite way to spend your free time? Yoga…builds my strength and flexibility, but relieves my stress.

What is the best book you’ve read recently? An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us by Ed Yong.

What is your favorite TV show? Yellowstone

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