Roger Byrne, an accomplished zoologist with deep administrative experience in curriculum revision, developing undergraduate research programs, and attracting exceptional faculty to a public liberal arts institution, will join Longwood University as the next dean of the Cook-Cole College of Arts and Sciences.

In his new role, which he will assume July 1, Byrne will lead the largest of Longwood’s colleges, with more than 3,000 students and 185 faculty.

A native of Ireland and a graduate of the University of Dublin’s prestigious Trinity College, Byrne received his doctoral degree at Louisiana State University, and has published extensively on the physiology of freshwater species.

He comes to Longwood from the State University of New York at Fredonia, where over nearly three decades as a teacher and researcher he has also served in numerous administrative roles, including department chair, associate dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, and most recently interim dean. He has been deeply involved in curriculum revisions there, and also oversaw a program called the Science Education Partnership, which developed initial certificate programs in physics, biology, earth science and chemistry adolescence education—all programs that received national recognition.

Byrne said part of the appeal of Longwood is its commitment to citizen leadership and some of its distinctive programs.

"Being able to produce citizen leaders is quite a complex undertaking," he said. "It goes beyond student-faculty interaction in classrooms, labs and studios to extra-curricular activities and even beyond the borders of the university. I was struck by how committed Longwood is to creating an environment in which students from a variety of backgrounds have a transformative experience—the hallmarks of which are engagement with the campus and ensuring that every student has a high-impact experience like an internship or study abroad. There’s a wonderful sense of balance between providing a comprehensive education and experiential growth in a real-world atmosphere."

"I got the feeling that people genuinely loved being at Longwood, and there was a connection that was evident between the members of the search committee"

Roger Byrne

"We are thrilled to have someone as accomplished as Dr. Byrne join the Longwood family," said Provost Dr. Joan Neff in an email to campus announcing Byrne’s appointment. "He has a long track record of supporting undergraduate research efforts, attracting diverse and talented faculty members, and imbuing his college with a sense of collaboration and achievement. The applicant pool was deep, but Dr. Byrne stood out as the candidate who has the vision and experience to lead the Cook-Cole College of Arts and Sciences."

In addition to his faculty responsibilities at Fredonia, Byrne has served as a visiting research professor at LSU and the University of Plymouth in England, and has been awarded numerous research grants, from organizations including the World Wildlife Fund.

The appointment concludes a national search—led by former Cook-Cole College of Arts & Sciences Dean Dr. Chuck Ross and several other faculty members—that drew many qualified applicants from across the country.

Byrne said the principal things that have drawn him to Longwood are its warmth and energy, which he said resonate with the faculty-student collaboration he has fostered throughout his career.

"I got the feeling that people genuinely loved being at Longwood, and there was a connection that was evident between the members of the search committee," he said. "When I arrived on campus, that was reinforced. Everyone I met was genuinely happy to be associated with Longwood and very forward with me about their support of the university’s mission and helping students achieve."

Byrne and his wife, Edith, have two adult children and will join the Longwood and Farmville communities when he begins his tenure as dean this summer. 

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