Skip To Top Navigation Skip To Content Skip To Footer

Lemmons Selected as New Missouri Southern Dean

Published: May 01, 2024 | Categories: Press Release
Lemmons Selected as New Missouri Southern Dean

Lemmons Selected as New Missouri Southern Dean
Biology Department Professor Elevated to Prestigious Position Following National Search 

A Missouri Southern biology professor with more than two decades of experience at the Joplin university will become the new dean of MSSU’s College of Health, Life Sciences and Education.

Following a nationwide search, Dr. Crystal Lemmons emerged as the top candidate for the position, according to Dr. Lisa Toms, Missouri Southern’s Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs. Lemmons will begin her new position on July 1.

Lemmons will lead a college that includes allied health, biology and environmental health, kinesiology, nursing, psychology, and teacher education.

“It became abundantly clear through the process that Dr. Lemmons possesses the experience and the skills to lead this college to the next level, and she certainly has the confidence and admiration of our faculty and staff,” Toms said. “Along with that, she has the vision we were looking for as we continue to elevate the College of Health, Life Sciences and Education through the expansion of our statewide mission to include health and life sciences and the development of our Blunt Health Science Innovation Center.”

Lemmons began her career at Missouri Southern in 2000 as an adjunct professor before becoming an assistant professor of biology a year later. She rose to associate professor in 2006 when she earned tenure and became a professor of biology in 2012. Through her time at the university, she has also served stints as department chair of the biology department and three years as a vice provost.

Lemmons was a practicing veterinarian before coming to Missouri Southern.

“I am very excited and thankful for the opportunity to serve as the Dean of the College of Health, Life Sciences and Education,” Lemmons said. “Speaking as a ‘Lion’ for many years, this is a pivotal and exciting time for Missouri Southern, especially within this college. I believe in the education and opportunities that Missouri Southern provides for our students, and it is truly an honor for me to serve the students, faculty, staff, and community in this new way.”

During her time at Missouri Southern, Lemmons has immersed herself into both the culture and the curriculum of the university, teaching complex courses such has human anatomy, radiation biology, pathophysiology, parasitology, histology, and advanced topics in biology (embryology). Dozens of her students have continued to become practicing physicians, and many more are working in a variety of important positions in the healthcare, research, and science fields.

It was also her commitment to the campus community that endeared her to so many during the selection process. Lemmons currently serves on the Blunt Health Science Innovation Center steering committee, the Willcoxon Innovation in Health Sciences Summit committee, the University’s Strategic Planning Task Force, and the Spencer-Bartlett Award selection committee, among many other committees and leadership of other campus initiatives.

The experience developing the Blunt Health Science Innovation Center on the campus’ Oval, a world-class facility currently under construction and scheduled to be completed in 2026, will become pivotal in the new role.

In just a few years, pre-med students will study anatomy in a brand-new cadaver lab, nursing students will experience real-life scenarios in a simulation hospital, and potential students will enter the facility’s welcome center to learn about opportunities at the university. The Center will provide MSSU healthcare students with more immersive-learning opportunities and experiences to enhance their education in preparation for the future of the profession.

“Dr. Lemmons possesses the experience, leadership ability, and the vision to effectively lead the College of Health, Life Sciences and Education during an exciting time,” Missouri Southern President Dr. Dean Van Galen said. “Crystal will bring to her new role a broad understanding of the university and a strong focus on student success.”