UCA appoints four academic deans

The University of Central Arkansas announced today the appointment of academic deans for the College of Business, College of Fine Arts and Communication, Graduate School and the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

Dr. Michael Hargis has been appointed dean of the College of Business. Terry Wright has been appointed the dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication. Dr. Stephanie Bellar has been appointed the dean of the Graduate School. Dr. Stephen Addison has been appointed dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

“I am honored to announce the appointment of such quality leaders as deans at the University of Central Arkansas. These individuals will help to lead UCA forward as we meet our strategic goals and develop programs of distinction,” said Dr. Steve Runge, provost and vice president of academic affairs.

All appointments are effective July 1.

michael hargisDr. Michael Hargis has served as interim dean for the College for the past year and has received broad support from the faculty of the college. Upon appointment, Hargis stated, “I appreciate the opportunity and look forward to our continued efforts to enhance and build a College of Business that is a regional powerhouse.”

Hargis earned a doctorate from Wayne State University in Detroit Michigan. He joined the UCA College of Business in fall 2006. Before coming to UCA, Hargis was an assistant professor at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga.

Hargis has served in a number of different faculty and administrative roles during his tenure at UCA including being the EPIC Residential College Rector and an associate professor in the department of marketing and management. His teaching and research interests focus on leadership, organizational behavior, and entrepreneurship. His research has been published in respected journals such as Personnel Psychology, Journal of Managerial Issues, Journal of Vocational Behavior, and Human Relations. He serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Organizational Behavior and several regional and state advisory boards focusing on entrepreneurship and economic development.


terry wrightTerry Wright has served as interim dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication this past year and has received widespread support from the college for his appointment.

Wright holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and Theater from Morningside College, a Master of Arts in English and American Literature from the University of Arkansas, and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Bowling Green State University.

He is the author of many books including “Fractal Cut-Ups” from Kattywompas Press in 2012. His writing has widely appeared in magazines and journals ranging from “McSweeney’s” to “Rolling Stone.” He received an Individual Artist Award in Poetry from the Arkansas Arts Council in 2002.

He has served as poetry editor for the “Mid-American Review” and as associate editor for “Slant,” “The Exquisite Corpse Annual,” and “Toad Suck Review.”

He is also a digital artist whose work has appeared widely in many venues, including cover art for multiple books and CDs, including one for the Official Grateful Dead Bootleg Series. His art has also appeared in many publications, including a cover story in “IEEE Computer Graphics” and a feature article in USA Today.

He worked as music editor and wrote record reviews for Ozark Entertainment magazine. He acted in a Shakespeare in the Park troupe one summer in Iowa. He helped found KABF-FM community radio in Little Rock. He was the singer and lyricist for The Malls, described in “A History of Arkansas Music” as “the first punk band in the state of Arkansas.”

He has taught at UCA since 1985 in both the department of English and the department of writing where he currently is a writing professor. He taught in the UCA Honors College for 20 years, including classes in film studies, new media studies, poetry, science fiction, and horror fiction. He taught poetry at the Arkansas Governor’s School for 12 years. He taught film studies at Hendrix College where he was a visiting professor of art.


stephanie bellarDr. Stephanie Bellar has accepted the position of graduate dean at the University of Central Arkansas effective July 1, 2014.

Bellar currently serves as the interim dean of the Graduate School at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She has over 11 years of administrative experience working in graduate education and received her doctorate in political science from the University of Kentucky.

Recently, Bellar noted, “Because my early tenure in graduate education was grounded in student recruitment and retention I have kept the passion to seek out the best applicant pool enabling programs to grow appropriately with the best possible graduate students.”

She has also served as an associate dean and director of political science/master’s in public administration and a director of recruitment and retention at the graduate level.

Bellar has published many articles in the area of representation of women on corporate boards in Business Perspectives, the Journal of Business Ethics, and other journals. She has been the author and reviewer of numerous grants and served as the project director for the Eisenhower Grant Workshop for Middle School Teachers to Improve Instruction in Civics and Government by using the Case Study Method of Teaching and Learning.

In 2010, she received the Innovations in Teaching Award presented by the Tennessee Political Science Association and was selected as the Outstanding Professor of the Year by the Student Government Association in 2004.

Bellar will also receive an appointment as a tenured professor in the department of political science at UCA.


stephen addisonDr. Stephen Addison has been serving as interim dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics for the past two years.

Upon appointment Addison noted, “I’m truly excited to have the opportunity to lead the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, a college that I have been involved in the leadership of since the early days of its founding in 1995.”

Addison joined the department of physics and astronomy at the University of Central Arkansas in 1984 after completing a doctorate in physics at the University of Mississippi under the late, renowned acoustician Henry E. Bass. Addison has been an active researcher in acoustics and signal processing over his tenure at UCA and was promoted to the rank of professor in 2003. Addison has been active in leadership of the college since 1995, first serving as assistant dean, then as associate dean from 2000 until 2003. He was chair of the physics and astronomy department in 2002 and served in this role until becoming interim dean of the college in 2012.

In addition to serving as dean, Addison will continue to serve as co-director of UCA STEMteach, a program that is changing the way in which secondary education teachers are prepared to teach science and mathematics. Addison has also been active in efforts to improve the teaching of science and mathematics in Arkansas schools. He has been heavily involved in grant work that has funded many of these activities.