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New Dean Appointed to College of Health and Human Services

New Dean Appointed to College of Health and Human Services

*Original story available on BG Daily News. Please visit

By CHUCK MASON The Daily News 783-3262 | Posted: Tuesday, December 9, 2014 9:45 am

A new dean will take over in late March at Western Kentucky University’s College of Health and Human Services.

Neale Chumbler, a 1991 WKU graduate, will start March 23, Provost Gordon Emslie said Monday.

Dean John Bonaguro, the founding dean of the college, will return to the faculty after serving 12 years as dean.

“I want to get to know the faculty and play to the strengths of the faculty and staff,” Chumbler said in a phone interview with the Daily News on Monday. “I see the components as research, teaching and service.”

Chumbler, a Paducah native with family ties to Bardstown, said he sees an opportunity for the college to go into the community to help with issues such as the continued roll out of the federal Affordable Care Act.

“I have worked with nurses and physical therapists and dental hygienists in interdisciplinary research,” Chumbler said. “I can translate all those different languages.” 

Emslie noted Chumbler also has a strong research background.

“He is a WKU alumni and he understands the university,” Emslie said of Chumbler, who is a professor and head of the Department of Health Policy and Management at the University of Georgia.

The College of Health and Human Services was established in August 2002 and consists of Allied Health; Communication Sciences and Disorders; Family and Consumer Sciences; The School of Nursing; The School of Kinesiology, Recreation and Sport; Public Health; Social Work; The Academic Center for Excellence; the Institute for Rural Health; the Kentucky Emergency Medical Services Academy; and the South-Central Kentucky Area Health Education Center. 

The CHHS also offers two doctoral degree programs, Doctor of Nursing Practice and Doctor of Physical Therapy, according to the university website.

Chumbler has a doctorate from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, a master’s degree in sociology from WKU and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Murray State University. He has served in leadership positions at UGA, Indiana University, Purdue University and the Indianapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center. He has also served as a faculty member at the University of Florida, according to a news release.

“As an alumnus of WKU, I am extremely excited to be returning to the Hill,” Chumbler said in the release. “The faculty, staff, alumni and students of the College of Health and Human Services have made enormous contributions to education, scholarship and community outreach. I am excited about the enormous opportunity to work with all of them.”

Chumbler, 46, and his wife, Janice, have two children, Monica, 17, and Isabel, 13. Janice received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from WKU.

Emslie said Bonaguro has been an excellent dean to serve the growing college at WKU.

“He has been a wonderful team player moving the university forward. He has helped with the collaboration of programs across the university,” Emslie said of Bonaguro.

The college added The Medical Center-WKU Health Sciences Complex, which allowed the nursing program to move out of the Academic Complex. The nursing program has since doubled in enrollment.

— Follow education reporter Chuck Mason on Twitter at or visit

Dr. Chumbler

Dr. Neale Chumbler

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