Radford University’s top academic leader, Kenna M. Colley, Ed.D., is retiring following more than two decades of exemplary service to the University, the community and the Commonwealth of Virginia. Dr. Colley most recently served as Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.
Previously, Dr. Colley served as Dean of the College of Education and Human Development; Director and Assistant Director of the School of Teacher Education and Leadership; and Associate Professor and Assistant Professor of special education in the School of Teacher Education and Leadership.
Her tenure at Radford University began with the Training and Technical Assistance Center, a federal grant serving 34 school divisions in Southwest Virginia, through a variety of roles, including Principal Investigator, Lead Coordinator and Director.
With over two years of service as Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Colley helped lead the Academic Programs and Accreditation Subcommittee, was a member of the Steering Committee and supported the merger of Jefferson College of Health Sciences into the Radford University family of colleges and departments, thereby establishing Radford University Carilion at the beginning of the 2019-2020 academic year.
Dr. Colley was integral to the University’s multi-year strategic planning process through her service as Co-Chair of the Strategic Planning Task Force. Dr. Colley also led a multi-year effort to obtain state approval for the Doctor of Education program, which will enroll its first cohort of students in January 2020.
Under Dr. Colley’s leadership, Radford University established new bachelor’s degree programs in emerging areas, such as cybersecurity, allied health science and sports administration. Furthermore, Dr. Colley was part of a team that helped to secure the Appalachian Support for Specialized Education Training, or ASSET, grant from the U.S. Department of Education, representing the largest grant in the history of Radford University at more than $13 million. During her tenure at Radford University, she secured a total of $34 million dollars in grant funding, thereby earning a historic level of membership in the University’s prestigious Million Dollar Circle.
Radford University President Brian O. Hemphill said, “These many contributions speak to Dr. Colley’s commitment to Radford University and the broader community. Throughout her time at Radford University, Dr. Colley provided strong leadership to the School of Teacher Education and Leadership, the College of Education and Human Development and the Division of Academic Affairs. With a long-standing career in public education in both K-12 and higher education settings, Dr. Colley is to be applauded for her diligent efforts to serve and strengthen the New River Valley and the Commonwealth of Virginia.”
Davis College of Business and Economics Dean Joy Bhadury said, “It has been my good fortune to have worked with Dr. Colley over the last year and a half at Radford University. What has distinguished her the most is her utmost and relentless dedication in pursuit of student success at Radford; she lives to enhance the learning of all Highlanders. I have been impressed with her caring and optimistic leadership and her skills in bringing us all together as an academic team.”
College of Education and Human Development Dean Tamara Wallace said, “Over a 30-year career as an educator, Dr. Colley served as a public school teacher, then as a teacher educator and administrator at Radford University. In every role in which she has served, her first and foremost concern has been ensuring positive outcomes for students. As an educator, she instilled in her pre-service teachers a fierce advocacy for inclusivity and for creating equitable learning environments for all learners. As an administrator, she built partnerships and brought teams together to create transformative learning opportunities and experiences for our students. We are indebted to Dr. Colley for her vision, her leadership and her relentless pursuit of excellence.”
In reflecting on her time at Radford University, Dr. Colley said, “Radford University has been in my heart and soul for over 24 years. In my many roles throughout the years, I have remained beholden to our amazing students and their transformative stories. Our students are what motivated me to work hard to help build programs and opportunities that would benefit them. I am proud to be part of Radford University’s legacy, and I will miss many people from across our campus upon my retirement. My memories are priceless.”