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Thad Domina named associate dean for academic affairs and director of graduate studies

In new role, Domina will lead efforts to foster innovation and success within academic and graduate programs.

Thurston (Thad) Domina, Ph.D., Robert Wendell Eaves Sr. Distinguished Professor in Educational Leadership and adjunct professor in the UNC Department of Public Policy, has been named the UNC School of Education’s next associate dean for academic affairs and director of graduate studies. Domina’s term officially began July 1.

In this role, Domina continues the work of outgoing associate dean Harriet Able, Ph.D. He will lead strategic directions and provide oversight for the School’s academic affairs and its graduate programs. Additionally, Domina will work collaboratively with faculty, staff, and students to develop and implement strategies and procedures to advance the School’s academic offerings and community. 

Domina succeeds Able, who has served as the associate dean for academic affairs and director of graduate studies since 2020. During her tenure, Able has worked toward fostering meaningful interdisciplinary connections between people, ideas, and academic programs. With a commitment to advocating for faculty, students, and staff, she has provided insightful strategies to help deliver innovative solutions. Able has navigated and guided key discussions and decisions for the School’s graduate programs and has been instrumental in the work to develop the School’s new online doctorate in organizational leadership, which is slated for launch in Fall 2024. Additionally, Able led efforts to implement full funding packages for each doctoral program in coordination with teams across the School. 

“This position requires bringing the entire School together – faculty, students, and staff, around an academic vision and programming to address the most challenging issues in education,” said Fouad Abd-El-Khalick, Ph.D., dean of the School and Alumni Distinguished Professor. “The person in this role works collaboratively with various constituencies to develop and implement innovative and sustainable solutions to some complex problems. During her tenure, Dr. Able expertly delivered on the important responsibilities of her office with wisdom, grace, and efficiency. 

“I am appreciative of her leadership to forward our academic work. I am also thankful that Dr. Domina has agreed to continue this work and certain that he will do an equally phenomenal job.” 

In his 20+ years in academia, Domina has studied every level of education, utilizing various analytical tools to understand the impact of families, schools, and educational experiences on child development and transition into adulthood. Domina’s research also reports on educational disparities and researches educational policies and strategies that promote the development of more equitable communities. 

Domina said he plans to expand on the work of Able and Jeff Greene, Ph.D., who served in the role from 2018 to 2020, and is focused on creating effective and just procedures to generate high-quality educational opportunities and experiences for students across all programs. 

“My goal is to maintain that level of respect and engagement,” Domina said, “and cultivate the culture of respectful and inclusive teamwork that makes Peabody Hall such a great place to learn and work. 

 “I’m really proud to be a part of this intellectual community. I hope that serving as associate dean for academic affairs will provide me with opportunities to help build the community and advance the important work that we are doing.” 

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