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Getting to Know: SEHD’s Interim Department Heads

Getting to Know: SEHD’s Interim Department Heads
August 22, 2022 SEHD Communications

Getting to Know: SEHD’s Interim Department Heads

The School of Education & Human Development (SEHD) at Texas A&M University introduces its four new Interim Department Heads. We interviewed Drs. Khalil Dirani, Marlene Dixon, Claire Katz and Jeffrey Liew ahead of the upcoming semester.

Photo of Khalil Dirani.Dr. Khalil Dirani

Educational Administration & Human Resource Development (EAHR)

Dr. Dirani is a professor in EAHR and served as Chair of the Education & Human Resource Development program for the past eight years. “Our classrooms include students from countries around the world,” he said. “By the time they graduate, we mentor them to find their own voices, culminating in jobs in academia and business. Their journey becomes, in a way, our journey too.”

His research interests include learning organization theory, talent and leadership development, and interdisciplinary team collaboration. He has been a faculty member for 15 years, with eight years at Texas A&M. He has degrees from the American University of Beirut, the Lebanese American University and the University of Illinois.

When asked about his favorite trip during college, he said, “A friend of mine and I took a road trip in a small Corolla from Champaign, Illinois, to Durango, Colorado. We drove through small towns and cities, with scenes out of old western movies.”

Photo of Marlene Dixon.Dr. Marlene Dixon

Kinesiology & Sport Management (KNSM)

Dr. Dixon is Chair of KNSM and a Professor in Sport Management. Her research interests are in the area of sport and life quality. She said, “As I studied work-family balance, it became clear that it’s a challenge for many who work in sport, particularly because of non-traditional hours and the highly competitive nature of their careers.”

She has been with Texas A&M for six years out of her 21-year faculty career. She earned degrees from Trinity University, The University of Texas and The Ohio State University.

“As a first-generation and out-of-state college student, playing sport was something that made me feel at home,” she said about her college experience. “When I was on the volleyball or basketball court, it was familiar, it was home. I want to continue to build sport experiences that help other girls and women find a place to thrive.”

Photo of Claire Katz.Dr. Claire Katz

Teaching, Learning & Culture (TLAC)

Dr. Katz is Professor of Philosophy and the Murray and Celeste Fasken Chair in Distinguished Teaching in the College of Liberal Arts (will be College of Arts and Sciences). She also holds the title Presidential Professor for Teaching Excellence. Her research interests include philosophy of education, K-12 philosophy, modern Jewish philosophy, and 20th-century continental philosophy. She has been at Texas A&M for 16 years, with 35 years in faculty positions at universities.

She has degrees from The University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Montclair University and the University of Memphis. She said, “My educator workshops often help teachers, in their own words, remember why they went into teaching in the first place and their role for inspiring students to think, to question, and to imagine.”

Originally from Maryland, Dr. Katz said Whataburger and the beautiful sunsets are what she loves most about Texas.

Photo of Jeffrey Liew.Dr. Jeffrey Liew

Educational Psychology (EPSY)

Dr. Liew is a professor in EPSY and former Associate Dean for Research in SEHD. He holds degrees from the University of California, Berkeley, and Arizona State University. His research interests include child and adolescent development, especially social-emotional and academic wellness and success, from preschool to high school and college years.

He began his career at Texas A&M and has been here for 17 years. He served as Associate Department Head for Research and Faculty Development in EPSY for three years. “Getting to see my Ph.D. students walk across the stage at graduation, hood them in Reed Arena or the Memorial Student Center, and congratulate them as they go out to transform lives is one of the best feelings,” he said.

Ahead of the fall semester, Dr. Liew reminds students to, “be mindful and make intentional food choices that give you the fuel you need to do all the things that busy students need to do.”

For media inquiries, contact Ruben Hidalgo.

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