ISU graduate tapped to head College of Nursing, Health, and Human Services

March 31 2008

Richard “Biff” Williams has been selected to head the College of Nursing, Health, and Human Services at Indiana State University.

“Biff Williams has extensive experience in teaching and research and a strong background in working with the community in innovative and entrepreneurial ways. These are skills that are needed to foster greater attention to the health professions, attract resources, and create an environment that promotes student success and supports the work of faculty,” C. Jack Maynard, provost and vice president for academic affairs, said in announcing Williams’ appointment.

Currently associate dean of the College of Education at the University of Northern Iowa, Williams holds a master’s degree from Indiana State.

A faculty member at Northern Iowa since 1998, Williams also served as executive associate director of the School of Health, Physical Education and Leisure Services, chair of the Division of Athletic Training and program director.

Williams has experience in development and fund raising, strategic planning, assessment, accreditation, program review, technology, curriculum, facility operations, building development and renovation, and marketing. He is part of a private-public partnership of a hospital, clinic, and university that resulted in the construction of a two-story human performance center, funded by $2.5 million from the medical community, $1.8 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and $2.3 million from donors.

“I am excited to be returning to Indiana State University and the Terre Haute community. I have always wanted to work at Indiana State and look forward to having the privilege to give something back to the university and faculty that gave me an excellent education,” Williams said.

“I am looking forward to all of the exciting opportunities to work with the excellent faculty, staff and students, as well as the university and local communities. They have a great vision of addressing state, national and international issues related to nursing, health, and human services. It is going to be a privilege to work together in reaching common goals,” he added.

Williams’ appointment drew praise from ISU College of Education Dean Brad Balch, who chaired the search for the College of Nursing, Health, and Human Services position.

“Dr. Williams' campus visit yielded consistently strong feedback from internal and external communities. His breadth of successful leadership experiences in higher education aligns well with the founding dean's position and will ensure a path of pre-eminence is continued in the College of Nursing, Health, and Human Services,” Balch said.

Williams’ leadership at Northern Iowa includes developing athletic training from a minor with eight students to baccalaureate and master’s degrees as well as a doctoral intensive study area in Rehabilitation Studies that serves more than 100 students.

Williams has received two awards from ISU: the Outstanding Young Professional award from the Athletic Training Department in 2004 and the Young Professional Alumni Award from the College of Health and Human Performance in 2003. At the University of Northern Iowa he received the Excellence in Leadership Award and Excellence in Service Award.

Williams will assume his new duties July 7. He succeeds Esther Acree and Doug Timmons, who have been serving as interim co-deans since the College of Nursing, Health, and Human Services was formed last year, combining the former Colleges of Nursing and Health and Human Performance to better serve the needs of health-related professions. Timmons will retire and Acree will return to her full-time faculty position.

A former high school teacher and head athletic trainer, Williams holds a bachelor’s degree from Weber State University in Utah, an M.S. in athletic training from ISU, and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from New Mexico State University.

Contact: C. Jack Maynard, provost and vice president for academic affairs, Indiana State University, 812-237-2909 or

Media relations contact: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Indiana State University, 812-237-3743 or

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Story Highlights

Richard "Biff" Williams has been named dean of the College of Nursing, Health and Human Services. Williams, whose degrees include a master of science in athletic training from ISU, is currently an associate dean of the College of Education at the University of Northern Iowa.

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