American College of Sports Medicine fellow inducted as interim dean of College of Health Sciences

URI Alum, Deborah Reibe is named new Interim Dean of College of Health Sciences. PHOTO CREDIT:

On Jan. 19, Dr. Deborah Riebe was named the new interim dean for the College of Health Sciences at the University of Rhode Island.

Dr. Riebe is a well-known professor of kinesiology and is replacing the former Dean Gary Ligouri. 

Riebe mentioned her excitement for the University with our new administration, and believes we are heading in a new direction. 

“Being able to be a continued resource for them is exciting to me to give back and impact the new work faculty and help them get their careers started,” Riebe said. 

Dr. Riebe is an alum of the University of Rhode Island where she earned her Masters of Science.

This position is not the first one in the department she’s held, serving most recently as the associate dean of the College of Health Sciences. She has been a professor at URI for 28 years, where she teaches exercise science courses in the kinesiology department. She is also involved in research projects surrounding how exercise affects people differently. 

“Primarily, my research has been looking at promoting physical activity in different populations and looking at certain outcomes,” Riebe said. 

Her work is focusing now on older adults who are obese and observing how exercise affects their “physical function.” Riebe has also been supported through funding by organizations for her research, such as the American Cancer Society, the National Institute of Health and the Champlin Foundation.   

Riebe is involved with multiple organizations outside of her work at URI. Notably, she is a fellow for the American College of Sports Medicine, as well as a member of the National Academy of Kinesiology. 

“Dr. Riebe brings a great deal of leadership experience, she’s been a longtime standing member of the College of Health Sciences,” said Provost Barbara Wolfe, the executive vice president for Academic Affairs

Wolfe said that Riebe was selected for the position based on her expertise, her ability to collaborate and her leadership capabilities. She is responsible for directing the students, faculty and the department as a whole as the University begins their search for a new permanent dean.  

“She really is a brilliant scholar,” Wolfe said. “We are very, very lucky to have such esteemed scholars to take on these types of leadership positions.”

By taking on this new position, Riebe will have to lessen her availability to teach. However, she has worked closely with former Dean Ligouri and said she plans to continue the upward trajectory for the College of Health Sciences. 

“I do think we need to continually grow, so that, I think, is part of my responsibility to take on even though it’s an interim position,” Riebe said. “I think that’s what I need to do.”

Although the position was established this month, Riebe has some plans to continue improving the college. She hopes to have forums about teaching for the upcoming semester, as well as continue the success of their research forums. She also wants to add more resources for faculty to utilize to express their thoughts and ideas. 

According to Riebe, there is no time frame for when the selection will be made, but the process will most likely take around the span of a year.