Ross appointed assistant dean of the Ivester College of Health Sciences

Dr. Heather Ross has been appointed to serve as assistant dean of the Ivester College of Health Sciences. She will continue to serve as the program director and chair of the Department of Physical Therapy.

“The university is thankful for Dr. Ross’ visionary leadership of shared faculty governance, and her direction of the physical therapy program is laudable,” Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Jim Eck said. “She will bring to the assistant dean role a commitment to excellence, a strong work ethic and an enduring sense of determination to see her goals to completion.”

Ross began working for Brenau in 2015 and has led the physical therapy program since 2018. During her time as director, the physical therapy program has maintained a 95% graduation rate, and the first-time National Physical Therapy Examination Board Pass Rate has improved from 71% to 95%.

Ross has served the last few years as the founding chair of Brenau’s Faculty Leadership Team. She helped to form a strong foundation for shared faculty governance at the university while serving as an advocate for faculty and staff.

She will collaborate with Dr. Gale Starich, dean of the Ivester College of Health Sciences. Starich said they will work to streamline and improve the infrastructure and management within the college.

“Our college has outgrown the current organizational structure and Dr. Ross will most certainly bring her creativity and abundant work ethic to facilitate and develop a plan for the future that supports the university’s vision,” Starich said.

As the assistant dean, Ross will work on interprofessional education initiatives, update clinical contracts, engage in policy analysis and strategic planning, and collaborate with the faculty to ensure the best possible learning outcomes for students.

“This is an exciting opportunity to forward the mission of our college,” Ross said. “I look forward to working alongside Dean Starich and will bring innovative ideas and a learning mindset to this position. The college is populated by exceptional programs, leaders, faculty, staff and students, and it will be a pleasure to serve them all.”

Ross earned a Bachelor of Arts in exercise and sport science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a Master of Physical Therapy from East Carolina University, and a Ph.D. in anatomy and neurobiology from Virginia Commonwealth University. Ross also had post-doctoral training in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at the University of Florida, and served as a faculty member in the University of Florida’s Physical Therapy Department from 2009-15.