Southeast Welcomes New Department Chairs

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Four academic departments at Southeast Missouri State have new chairs this fall. The new leadership and the departments they chair are:

  • Dr. Connie Drury, Department of Nursing
  • Dr. R.D. Nordgren, Department of Leadership, Middle and Secondary Education
  • Dr. Shonta Smith, Department of Elementary, Early and Special Education
  • Dr. Jason Wagganer, Department of Kinesiology, Nutrition and Recreation

“We are extremely excited and thankful that Drs. Drury, Nordgren, Smith and Wagganer are serving in these respective chairperson roles,” said Dr. Mike Godard, Southeast Provost. “Their leadership will be critical as we continue to transform and enhance our academic programs at Southeast. I am sure that their contributions will be significant and I look forward to working with each of them this academic year and beyond.”

Dr. Connie Drury

Drury replaces Dr. Gloria Green who recently retired. Drury joins Southeast from Shawnee Community College where she served as Director of Nursing. She has also served as a faculty member at Chamberlain University and has practiced as a nurse at St. Francis Medical Center, SoutheastHEALTH and Missouri Delta Medical Center. She holds a doctorate in nursing from the University of Missouri – Kansas City; and a Master of Science in nursing and Bachelor of Science in nursing, both from Southeast. She also holds Registered Professional Nursing licenses in Missouri and Illinois.

Dr. R.D. Nordgren

Nordgren replaces Dr. Bill Bratberg who served as interim chair since January 2020 after the passing of Dr. C.P. Gause. Nordgren joins Southeast from Piedmont College where he served as dean of the School of Education. He also has served as department chairperson previously at Cleveland State and National University. Nordgren holds a doctorate in curriculum and instruction with a School Management Specialist endorsement, a Master of Education in educational leadership and Bachelor of Science in English education, all from the University of South Florida.

Dr. Shonta Smith

Smith replaces Dr. Julie Ray who recently retired. Smith came to Southeast in 2009 and has served most recently as a professor of elementary education and UI100 first-year experience coordinator. She holds a doctoral degree in education and educational leadership from St. Louis University; a Master of Education in counseling from the University of Missouri-St. Louis; and a Bachelor of Science in education from Harris Stowe State University.

Dr. Jason Wagganer

Wagganer has been serving as interim chair of the Department of Kinesiology, Nutrition and Recreation since 2019 when former chair, Dr. Joe Pujol was named interim dean and then subsequently dean of the College of Education, Health and Human Studies. Wagganer came to Southeast in 2010 and has taught courses in exercise physiology, kinesiology and cardiovascular exercise physiology. He is also director of Southeast’s Human Performance Laboratory. He holds a doctorate in exercise physiology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro; a Master of Science in nutrition and exercise science and a Bachelor of Science in health management, exercise science option, both from Southeast.

Additionally, three academic departments have new interim chairpersons this fall:

  • Dr. Indi Braden, Department of Agriculture
  • Dr. Willie Redmond, Department of Marketing
  • Dr. Nic Wilkins, Department of Psychology and Counseling

Dr. Indi Braden

Braden replaces Dr. Sophia Scott who stepped down as interim chair of the department to become Faculty Director with the Center for Teaching and Learning. Braden came to Southeast in 2003 and has most recently served as professor of agriculture. She holds a doctoral degree in agronomy from Iowa State University; Master of Science in crop, soil and environmental sciences from the University of Arkansas; and a Bachelor of Science in biology from the College of the Ozarks.

Dr. Willie Redmond

Redmond replaces Dr. Judy Wiles who recently retired. Redmond came to Southeast in 1999 and has most recently served as professor of economics and director of International Business Programs. He holds a doctoral degree in economics, an MBA with a concentration in finance and a Bachelor of Arts in economics, all from the University of South Carolina.

Dr. Nic Wilkins

Wilkins replaces Dr. Alison Whiteford Damerall who stepped down as chair of the department. Wilkins came to southeast in 2013 and has most recently served as associate professor of cognitive psychology. He holds a doctoral degree and Master of Arts both in cognitive psychology from Kent State University; and a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Montana.

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