March 22, 2019

Donald McGarey named interim dean of the College of Science and Mathematics

Donald McGarey, chair and professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB), has been named interim dean of the College of Science and Mathematics (CSM) at Kennesaw State University (KSU).

“Under Mark Anderson’s leadership, the College moved in many positive directions including enhanced student success, improved infrastructure and opportunities for research, and increased faculty and staff leadership development,” said McGarey. “As interim dean, I am looking forward to sustaining the momentum generated by Dean Anderson and the college’s faculty, staff and students.”

As an example of this forward trajectory, last summer, through the efforts of CSM, KSU was one of 57 recipients of a $1 million five-year award from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (more information) to significantly increase institutional inclusion and diversity in STEM undergraduate education. This grant will serve to enhance the student success initiative programs already implemented by the College.

“The position appeals to me because it has a significant role in enhancing the educational value for our students, while also elevating the research activity and profile through the efforts of our excellent faculty, staff and students,” he said.

CSM serves nearly 3,500 undergraduate majors and 100 graduate students through seven undergraduate and three master’s degree programs. The College serves the majority of non-majors through math, statistics and science general education coursework as well as providing the physics, math, statistics, chemistry and biology courses for STEM programs outside the College.

“Through dedicated efforts and our strategic vision over the past 20 years, KSU has changed from a primarily undergraduate, commuter institution to the comprehensive, first choice, R2 institution it is today,” said McGarey. “I’m looking forward to serving as interim dean of CSM to continue our excellence in preparing students for success through innovative, meaningful academic experiences and to do our part to grow KSU’s research enterprise.”

McGarey joined the KSU faculty in 1998 as an associate professor in the Department of Biology and Physics. There he rose through the ranks first as department chair and then as chair of the newly-formed Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology following consolidation with Southern Polytechnic State University in 2015. He most recently served as interim vice president for research, overseeing the Office of Research responsible for supporting externally funded research, service and creative activity at KSU.

On the college level, McGarey has provided instruction and course development for several graduate and undergraduate courses in the microbial sciences, biology and interdisciplinary courses. He was instrumental in establishing the Master of Science in Integrative Biology (MSIB) program, which has been identified as an emerging paradigm by the National Academy of Sciences.

Even with administrator duties, McGarey continues an active research program focused on waterborne pathogens, water quality analyses, and environmental assessment. His work, published in leading journals, has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Park Service, the U.S. Department of Defense and other private, regional and state agency contracts. He has presented his work, with his students, at several international, national and regional conferences. As a faculty research mentor, McGarey has guided more than 75 undergraduates and 10 graduate students, as well as served on thesis committees for another 15 masters-level graduate students.

A collegiate track and field student-athlete himself, McGarey served as head coach for both KSU’s men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field programs and associate head coach for men’s and women’s cross country teams from 2000-2010. Under his leadership, over 200 student-athletes earned All-Academic Honors from the Atlantic Sun Conference. The programs also earned six Atlantic Sun Conference team championships – two for cross country and four for track and field – and numerous individual All-Conference selections.

McGarey, who grew up in Florida, earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in microbiology from Louisiana State University and his doctorate in biology from the University of South Florida.

— Joëlle Walls