VCU School of Education announces faculty appointments

February 12, 2024


Abrams promoted to interim assistant vice provost 

Several faculty changes in the VCU School of Education will advance its academic mission and enrich the learning experience for its community.

Lisa Abrams, Ph.D., has been named interim assistant vice provost, underscoring her invaluable contributions to the School of Education as she moves to this position in the provost’s office. Having served in various leadership roles, including interim associate dean for research and faculty development, Dr. Abrams brings a wealth of experience and insight to her new position. Abrams served as interim chair of the Department of Foundations from 2021 to 2023. Her appointment to this new role reflects VCU's commitment to nurturing talent and fostering a culture of academic excellence.

Meanwhile, to better serve evolving needs, the School of Education has divided the interim associate dean of research and faculty development position into two roles

Whitney Newcomb, Ph.D., will be the interim associate dean for faculty development, leveraging her extensive background in educational leadership and faculty growth initiatives. A faculty member at multiple institutions since 2002, Newcomb joined VCU in 2007. After filling in as interim, Newcomb was named chair of the Department of Education Leadership in 2016. She also served as interim chair of the Department of Teaching and Learning in 2023. Newcomb has produced more than 65 publications and brings significant experience in faculty development, and will continue in her role as Chair of the Department of Educational Leadership.

Kevin Sutherland, Ph.D., professor of special education, will serve as interim associate dean for research, leveraging his extensive background in special education and research endeavors. Since joining VCU in 2000, he has been a principal investigator (PI) or co-PI on more than $40 million in external funding and published 80 articles in peer-reviewed journals. In addition, he has been an editor, associate editor, consulting editor and reviewer for multiple journals.

In another appointment, Jonathan Becker, J.D. and Ph.D., has been named director of professional studies, which reflects the school’s commitment to innovation and lifelong learning. Becker's leadership will drive the expansion of professional studies and continuing education initiatives, tapping into the School of Education's reservoir of expertise to offer cutting-edge learning opportunities. With a focus on digital badges and micro-credentials, Becker's vision promises to redefine the boundaries of traditional higher education.