/New semester, new leadership 
Graphic by Bell Jackson

New semester, new leadership 

By Cady Inabinett, Editor in chief 

The spring semester is starting with some changes for the University of Montevallo’s College of Education and Human Development and Michael E. Stephens College of Business. Both colleges will start the semester with new leadership, with Dr. Donna Ploessl taking the reins as the dean of the College of Education and Human Development and Dr. Amiee Mellon stepping down as the dean of the College of Business.  

Ploessl has served as the interim dean of the College of Education and Human Development since June 2022.  

Ploessl has been a UM faculty member since 2017, serving as an associate professor of special education prior to stepping into the role as dean. Ploessl’s time at UM has been marked by numerous awards and recognitions. She earned the College of Education’s Ernest Outstanding Commitment to Teaching award in 2022 and the Council for Exceptional Children’s Jasper Harvey Award for Alabama’s Outstanding Teacher Educator in 2019. Ploessl’s research, focused on the preparation of educators, has also been published in several journals including the Southeastern Regional Association of Teacher Educators, the Journal of Special Education Preparation and the Annals of Anthropological Practice.  

In addition to her position at UM, Ploessl serves on the Alabama State Department of Education’s Higher Education Task Force on the Science of Reading. She is also an external reviewer for conference proposals for the Council of Exceptional Children. 

In a university press release, Ploessl outlined her goals as dean, saying, “In alignment with the college’s mission, I am committed to fostering a learning environment that values diversity, inclusion and excellence. I look forward to leading our dedicated faculty, staff and students in a collaborative supportive community that fosters the comprehensive development of individuals.” 

As dean, Ploessl will oversee all of the College of Education and Human Development’s undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The college offers undergraduate degrees in education of deaf and hard of hearing, elementary education, elementary education with collaborative teaching certification, exercise and nutrition science and family and consumer science. Graduate degrees offered through the college include master’s degrees in elementary, secondary and P-12 education, instructional leadership, educational studies, exercise and nutrition science and counseling. 

Meanwhile, Mellon’s resignation as dean of the College of Business was announced over the winter break on Dec. 21. Mellon, who was named dean of the college in July 2023 and had served as the interim dean prior to that, will continue to serve as a UM faculty member—returning to her role as an associate professor of marketing.  

While she was dean, Mellon help to develop several new concentrations and minor programs within the college.  

While the university searches for a new dean, UM alum Dr. Lynne Richardson will step into the role of interim dean. Richardson has previously served as the dean of business schools at the University of Mary Washington and Iona College. She has also been involved with the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business—an organization that oversees the accreditation and development of business schools—serving two terms on its board of directors.  

Richardson’s main responsibilities as dean will center around leading the College of Business through its AACSB accreditation process, as well as assisting in the dean search process—as the university aims to have a new dean take over in January 2026. 

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Cady Inabinett is the editor in chief of The Alabamian. She’s majoring in English and double-minoring in political science and peace and justice studies. She enjoys reading, watching movies, caring for houseplants and generally just being pretentious in her free time.