Three Faculty Take Full Chair Positions

June 20, 2016

Three departments in Emporia State’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences have new chairs after faculty members were promoted to the positions.

Dr. Brian Hollenbeck is the new chair of the Department of Mathematics and Economics. Dr. Alfredo Montalvo is chair of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Crime and Delinquency Studies. Dr. Kim Simons is chair of the Department of Physical Sciences. Both Montalvo and Simons have served as interim chairs of their departments for the past year.

“The position of department chair may be one of the toughest jobs in academia,” said Dr. Brent Thomas, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, in announcing the promotions. “The department chair sets the tone within the department and plays a critically important role in shaping the course of a department for many years to come.

“We are all very thankful that these outstanding individuals have agreed to step into their new positions as department chairs.”

Hollenbeck joined the Emporia State faculty as an assistant professor in 2001 after earning three degrees from the University of Missouri-Columia — a bachelor of science in mathematics, master of science in applied mathematics and Ph.D. in mathematics.

Named a professor in 2013, Hollenbeck has served in numerous campus positions during his tenure at ESU, including chair of the General Education Council. He also is involved in state and regional organizations and is the president-elect for Kappa Mu Epsilon national mathematics honor society. As chair, Hollenbeck replaces Dr. Joe Yanik, who is moving back to full-time teaching.

“I have great colleagues and enjoy working with them,” said Hollenbeck. “I hope to continue the fine leadership our department has had since I’ve been here.”

Montalvo, who was named interim chair in February 2015 after the resignation of Dr. Nate Terrell, came to Emporia State in 1993 as an assistant professor. Before that he taught at Colegio San Jose in San German, Puerto Rico, Southern Illinois University and Marion Federal Penitentiary in Illinois and was an alcohol and drug abuse prevention specialist in Anna, Illinois.

He earned his bachelor of arts degree in sociology from Inter American University of Puerto Rico, a master of arts in sociology from Illinois State University and Ph.D. in sociology from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Along with service on multiple campus committees, Montalvo has served as a member of the Lyon County Community Corrections Board since 1996.

Simons has served as interim chair for a year, replacing Dr. Rich Sleezer after he was named associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Simons joined the Department of Physical Sciences in 2009 as an assistant professor. He earned his bachelor of science degree in biochemistry with a minor in computer science from the University of Dallas, his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Washington and was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He taught at University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown before coming to Kansas.

At ESU, Simons has served on Faculty Senate as well as other committees and currently is a council member-at-large for Kansas Academy of Science.

“The Department of Physical Sciences has a strong tradition as shown by its excellent programs and outstanding alumni,” said Simons. “I look forward to maintaining the tradition and adapting our department to the needs and talents of our incoming students. With the support of the community, we will continue to improve and preserve our excellence.”



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