Dr. Nancy Cassill was named associate dean for academic programs for NC State’s Wilson College of Textiles (COT) effective August 22, 2016. The appointment marks the first time that a woman has held an associate dean position within the College. It is the second “first” for Cassill, who was also the first female full professor recruited into the College.

Cassill has held numerous leadership roles during her time at both UNC Greensboro and NC State. At State, she has held positions in both the COT (which she joined in 2000) and Poole College of Management (PCOM). She served as Textile and Apparel, Technology and Management’s (TATM) department head from 2008-2012, where she led the complete redesign of the undergraduate programs, creating the nation’s only bachelor of science degrees in Fashion and Textile Management and Fashion and Textile Design. She also established COT’s first department Industry Advisory Board, comprised of 22 executive leaders representing the entire textile enterprise, and led the creation of the College’s first formal international study abroad program between Donghua University and the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.

Cassill served for four years as the inaugural director of graduate programs for PCOM’s Global Luxury Management (GLM) program. Under her leadership, the GLM program became financially independent and has grown to over 40 graduate students per year with students from Europe, Asia and the Americas.

In her most recent role as TATM’s interim department head, Cassill worked closely with the Burlington Foundation to develop a soon-to-be launched Student Life Center that will foster student leadership, career development, entrepreneurism and excellence.

As associate dean for academic programs, Cassill will lead the Academic Programs unit. She will be responsible for implementation of the College strategic plan in relation to academic initiatives, including recruitment of diverse, high-quality undergraduate and graduate students; administration and growth of scholarships and fellowships; growing extramural revenues to support the academic departments and academic programs; college-level academic operations, resources and infrastructure; faculty and staff awards; representing the College’s academic programs externally; and, importantly, enabling strong collaboration across the College, the university and externally.

Cassill replaces Dr. William Oxenham who recently relinquished the position after 15 years as associate dean for Academic Programs. He remains on faculty as the Abel C. Lineberger Professor.

We asked Dr. Cassill to share some thoughts about her new position.

What do you think are the College’s two or three greatest strengths academically and how will those strengths helps us evolve?
NC:
Our College has many strengths, but our people, programs, and “places” – and by that I mean both our facilities and our technologies – are solid foundations from which we will continue to elevate our College. Combining these strengths, with our industry networks, including our active industry Boards, and our COT alumni, will help us continue to be proactive in identifying academic and experiential programs that will prepare the global industry’s future leaders.

What do you think is the biggest challenge for the COT from an academic standpoint and how will you solve for that?
NC: From an academic standpoint, we need to identify strategic models for academic program development, for our undergraduate and graduate programs, particularly our doctoral programs, and also for our Online and Distance Education programs – another great opportunity. We need to be proactive, not reactive, and deliberate with academic program decisions. I think that is imperative for leaders in textile education.

What are you most excited about doing as ADAP?
NC: Working closely with the talented Academic Programs team, I know we can provide greater opportunities for our College personnel. I am also particularly excited to work with the College’s new leadership team.

What do you think is the most important characteristic you bring to this role?
NC: My diverse experiences since joining the NC State Wilson College of Textiles in 2000 have included leadership roles both as senior faculty and administrator. These experiences, plus working closely with our College’s talented faculty, staff and students and also with our global academic and industry partners, are key strengths that I bring to further assist our College with collaborations and future program development.

How do you feel about the distinction you’ve achieved? Being the first female associate dean in the College’s 117 year history?
NC: As our newly revised College Strategic Plan shows, the College is placing a strong emphasis on advancing diversity in all its forms. Our student body is majority female in both our undergraduate and graduate programs and our female faculty representation has grown in recent years to 40 percent. This is a great opportunity for me to serve as role model for our student population and faculty and staff, as well as reflect the diverse leadership in our industry.