The University of Rhode Island College of Business Administration has named professor Kathryn Jervis as their new interim dean, replacing Mark Higgins who left URI in December.

Provost Donald DeHayes appointed Jervis last month in recognition of her many teaching excellence awards and extensive involvement with the college. “Dr. Jervis is a well-respected and highly valued member of the faculty,” DeHayes said in a press release. “She has a reputation of service to the College, a passionate commitment to diversity, and has led interdisciplinary efforts in health care management – all of which are strategically important to the university’s future.”

Jervis was previously an associate professor of accounting and the first woman to be the area coordinator for Accounting Information Systems. An expert on health care management finance, she chaired the committee to develop a health care management specialization for the college’s masters program, an initiative that has created six new classes.

“I’d like to see that continue,” Jervis said, referencing the possibility of online courses and certificate programs to further the business of healthcare education. “We’ve worked it in a very interdisciplinary way.”

Jervis also hopes to add a diversity coordinator to the CBA staff. While acknowledging that it is not necessarily an issue, she said “there’s a lot of things we can do with respect to diversity.” The person that fills the position would be responsible for reaching out to and working with middle and high school students to recognize the possibilities they have at URI in an effort to support the diversity within the college.

Jervis is especially proud to have been the first and only faculty advisor the university’s Women in Business club, something she has been involved with since 2009. “We’ve had more men in the College of Business than women,” she said, adding that the Women in Business club is the best way to counter that.

As the recipient of the Clay V. Sink Excellence Award for Faculty Service in 2013, the Beta Gamma Sigma Teaching Excellence Award in 2011 and the Thomas Chisholm Graduate Teaching Award in 2010, Jarvis’s quality of teaching was a large part in her being chosen. “Beta Gamma Sigma is really important to me because it’s the students that select for that,” she said.

According to Jervis, the committee responsible for choosing the permanent dean was already at work before she was brought on as interim. “The search committee is working to fill the position,” she said.