Literary Scholar Named Humanities, Social Sciences Dean
April 22, 2014
SHSU Media Contact: Jennifer Gauntt
Abbey Zink, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of English at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, has been appointed the dean of Sam Houston State University’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences.
Zink will assume the leadership of the college beginning June 1 from Gene Young, professor of English and dean of the Elliott T. Bowers Honors College, who has served as interim dean since last summer.
“Dr. Zink’s experiences in leading a broad spectrum of disciplines throughout her career and her academic focus on college readiness make her the ideal candidate to lead the College of Humanities and Social Sciences,” said SHSU provost and vice president for Academic Affairs Jaimie Hebert. “In addition, her dedicated work within the cities of Kingsville and Corpus Christi fits perfectly with SHSU’s commitment to community engagement.
“We’re very excited for her to join our academic community.”
Zink has served as dean for TAMU-K’s College of Arts and Sciences, which comprises 10 academic departments, the National Natural Toxins Research Center and the John E. Conner Museum, since 2012.
During her tenure there, she has overseen the creation of two bachelor’s and three master’s degree programs in criminal justice, physics, criminology, music performance and cultural studies, respectively.
In addition, she championed the creation of a new department of clinical health sciences to house accredited programs in communication sciences and disorders and social work, as well as worked collaboratively with the associate vice president for research to sponsor the development of interdisciplinary research groups in biomedical sciences, social and behavioral sciences, biotechnology, and sustainable energy.
Within the area communities, she led the effort to form a partnership with LULAC Council No. 1 Foundation to establish the Tejano Civil Rights Museum in Corpus Christi and is vice president of the Kingsville Symphony Orchestra and a Kingsville Rotary member.
Prior to joining TAMU-K, Zink served as a faculty member and administrator at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, Conn., where she also served as interim dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, assistant dean, professional writing program coordinator, composition coordinator, and director of two campus learning centers.
Within those roles, Zink coordinated the “Building a Bridge to Improve Student Success” partnership between WCSU and two local school systems that became a model in the ConnSCU system and was cited in WCSU’s recognition on the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.
In addition, for several years, she was a member of the Connecticut Department of Higher Education Advisory Committee on Accreditation, which reviewed degree proposals from public and private institutions and made recommendations to the governing boards.
She also recently served as secretary of the Texas Association of Deans of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Zink earned her doctorate in English at Northern Illinois University and her Master of Arts degree in English and her Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism at Marshall University.
Her research interests include college readiness and late-19th- and early-20th-century American women writers.
“I first visited Sam Houston a year or so ago for a conference and was impressed by the people I met, the innovative curriculum, and the outstanding academic programs,” Zink said. “I knew then that Sam Houston was a special place.
“I’m honored to join SHSU and share the university’s deep commitment to its students and community engagement,” she said. “I look forward to working with everyone to write the next exciting chapter in the life of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.”
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