New dean strives to enhance her department in size and spirituality

Judy Sloan became dean of the School of Health and Kinesiology this
summer. (Photo courtesy of MUR)
Judy Sloan became dean of the School of Health and Kinesiology this summer. (Photo courtesy of MUR)

Written by: Alicia Flores

As the new dean of the School of Health and Kinesiology, Judy Sloan spoke with the Accent about her academic and career history and ambition to not only enhance athletic performance on campus but also increase enrollment and maintain spiritual importance within her department.

Originally from Washington state, Sloan graduated from the University of Nebraska with a doctorate in administration, curriculum and instruction before coming to Southern Adventist University in 2001.

“I was interested in working at one of our institutions, and Southern actually offered before Union did,” Sloan said, referring Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska. 

She had been working on her doctorate when Southern called and offered her a teaching job, Sloan recalled. She told Southern she wanted to finish her degree before starting the job. Southern waited, and Sloan took the job after obtaining her doctorate. 

Since then, Sloan has taught as a professor for 22 years in the School of Health and Kinesiology. Her position changed in June, when the previous dean, Robert Benge, who worked at Southern Adventist University for 25 years, retired. 

“What makes this really easy is that Dr. Benge, who retired, has been 100% accessible to me to answer questions,” Sloan said.

Benge told the Accent, “Dr. Sloan will keep the faculty, students and staff moving in a forward direction, and the School of Health and Kinesiology will thrive under her leadership.”

According to Sloan, her past job experience helped prepare her for her new leadership position. Her previous experience includes being vice principal at Milo Academy in Southern Oregon, a teacher of multiple physical education classes, an intramural coordinator and an athletic director. 

Since she assumed her role as dean in June, Sloan said she has focused on growing the department, which currently has 183 students. 

“The biggest thing that we are trying to work on as a department is to increase our enrollment in all of our degree areas,” Sloan said. “So, our main focus is probably to figure out better ways to recruit and also doing retention.” 

Sloan said this year’s large freshman class and high undergraduate enrollment has significantly helped her school. She said her faculty members are up to the challenge of teaching, advising and guiding the future young minds of their field. 

“That’s the thing that I think is awesome about this position that I’m in as the dean, because ultimately every single person in our department is good at what they do,” Sloan said. “My job is just to get them what they need to do their job well.” 

Sloan emphasized the importance of physical activity in students’ lives.

“You want [students] to realize the impact physical activity has on their GPA and mental health,” Sloan said. 

She also explained the underlying goal that shapes decisions within her department.

“It matters to me that we meet the needs of the students, but the first desire that I have for this department is to help them have a personal relationship with God,” Sloane said. “So however we can help students with that — it doesn’t matter what their major is — that’s the goal.”

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