Academic leaders with extensive experience in their fields are joining Middle Georgia State as deans of the two of the University's largest schools.
Dr. Michael Kenneth Holt, most recently of Austin Peay University, is joining Middle Georgia State (MGA) as dean of the School of Business while Dr. Tara L. Underwood, most recently of Columbus State University, will take the helm of the School of Health Sciences. They join MGA after a national search conducted by Myers McRae Executive Search and Consulting.
"Both Dr. Holt and Dr. Underwood are bringing impressive records of accomplishment to Middle Georgia State University," said Dr. Melanie Hatch, MGA's provost. "Their leadership experience in higher education operations will serve Middle Georgia State well as we continue to build our graduate and undergraduate programs in fields of study that are among those having the greatest impact on the region we serve."
Holt, associate professor in the College of Business at Austin Peay in Clarksville, Tenn., brings more than 27 years of experience leading university operations and educational business programs. From 2012 to 2014, he was chair of the Management, Marketing, and General Business Department. As chair, he achieved AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) candidacy at Austin Peay, with accreditation expected this spring. He led a department of 12 faculty members in instructing 400 graduate and undergraduate students during AACSB candidacy while overseeing college-wide efforts to review and revise graduate and undergraduate curricula.
Prior to joining Austin Peay, Holt was associate professor and chair of MBA academics at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Mo. He previously taught 21 years at Union University in Jackson, Tenn., serving two terms as chair of the School of Business.
With a bachelor’s degree in economics and finance from Union University, he earned a master’s in economics from Louisiana State University and a doctoral degree in management from the University of Memphis. Holt has published extensively.
Underwood is associate professor of Health Science and chair of the Department of Health, Physical Education, and Exercise Science at Columbus State University in Georgia. Underwood brings more than 20 years of leadership experience to MGA, both in academia and in business. Underwood has held leadership roles throughout her 14 years at Columbus State, including graduate director of Health Professions and coordinator of Health Sciences.
In addition to her work at Columbus State, Underwood has been a faculty evaluator and presentation consultant for the American Council on Education in Washington, D.C., since 2012 and an adjunct professor with Mercer University’s Department of Community Medicine/College of Health Professions, Department of Public Health in Georgia since 2010. Her career has included service with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Georgia, Hampton Health Department and Tidewater Community College in Virginia, Japan Enhanced Network Systems in Tokyo, and the Building Towards Wellness Coalition in Georgia.
After graduating cum laude with a bachelor of science degree in Community Health Education from Morris Brown College in Georgia in 1993, Underwood received her master of science degree in Community Health from Old Dominion University in Virginia. She earned her Doctor of Health Administration from Central Michigan University in 2008.
Middle Georgia State University, with campuses in Macon, Cochran, Dublin, Eastman, and Warner Robins, offers bachelor's and master's degrees, along with select career-oriented associate's degrees. Business degrees include the B.S. in Business Administration and the M.S. in Management. Health sciences degrees include the B.S. in Nursing (traditional and RN-BSN), the B.S. in Respiratory Therapy, the B.S. in Health Services Administration and the M.S. in Nursing.