Kearney, Neb. — Professor Grace Ann Mims was announced Thursday, April 4, by Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs Charlie Bicak as the appointed interim dean of the College of Education at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.
Pending Board of Regents approval, Mims will transition into the role in July following the retirement of Dean Sheryl Feinstein.
Mims has served as chair of UNK’s Counseling and School Psychology Department in the College of Education since 2010. She has been a counselor educator for 26 years, teaching and advising doctoral, specialist and master’s students in clinical mental health counseling, school counseling and higher education student affairs. She joined UNK in 2008 and is president of UNK Faculty Senate.
Mims holds six state and national professional counseling credentials. Prior to joining UNK, she was at the University of South Dakota, from 1993-2008.
At UNK, she is responsible for the continuity, quality and effectiveness of four graduate programs with approximately 200 students, and a graduate certificate program. During enrollment challenges, she strategically diversified undergraduate course offerings via course delivery and with a general studies portal course. She helped the department transition into online course delivery while preserving intensive clinical training, which resulted in a significant increase in majors and an additional faculty line for the higher education student affairs online program.
Mims has secured approximately $880,000 in external grants through university-community partnerships geared toward providing graduate students experiential learning opportunities and promoting mental health. She wrote and was awarded a $350,000 VAWA federal grant in partnership with UNK Counseling and Health Care and the UNK Women’s Center. She received the 2011 UNK Student Affairs Partnership Award for establishing a coordinated response for women who are victims of violence on campus and the surrounding five counties. The grant was renewed for $900,000.
Her advocacy efforts led to the creation of the UNK/Buffalo County Sexual Assault Response Team for which she served as a member for six years.
At USD, Mims established a 12-year, university-school partnership with the Sioux Falls School District via a service-learning project for graduate students to conduct small-group diversity training for 16,500 high school students and 1,500 teachers, school counselors and administrators.
Mims is a member of the UNK Equity, Access and Diversity Committee, and recently joined the University of Nebraska Diversity Officer Collaborative. She is engaged in state leadership with the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska Advisory Council, and is vice president of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services Region 3 Advisory Council.
She earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of Central Missouri, her master’s in college student personnel and community counseling at Western Illinois University, and her doctorate in counselor education and supervision from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. In addition to UNK and USD, she has held positions at Ball State University, SIU-C, WIU and UCM. Her husband Matthew Mims is also a professor at UNK and her son Griffin will graduate this summer from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Feinstein announced her retirement earlier this year.