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HPU promotes eight faculty members at the start of the 2016-2017 year

BROWNWOOD – September 15, 2016 – Howard Payne University announced the promotions of eight faculty members with the start of the fall 2016 semester. Receiving promotions are Dr. Robert Bicknell, Dr. Derek Hatch, Dr. Millard Kimery, Dr. Stephen Kovach, Dr. Brad Lemler, Dr. Matthew McNiece, Dr. Debra Powell and Dr. Craig Younce.

Dr. W. Mark Tew, HPU’s provost and chief academic officer, expressed his appreciation of these individuals and their commitment to excellence.

“When every faculty member is employed, I challenge them to be educators, scholars and citizens,” said Dr. Tew. “A natural outgrowth of pursuing these goals are achievements that warrant promotion. I am delighted that the university provides an encouraging environment in which faculty continue to grow as professionals and educators.”

Dr. Robert Bicknell, accreditation liaison, has been named dean of extended education. He had served as interim dean since 2013. Since joining HPU’s administration in 1989, he has served in a variety of roles including vice president for academic affairs, provost, professor of music and special assistant to the president for accreditation and adult programs. He had previously served as dean of extended education from 2002 to 2005.

Dr. Derek Hatch, formerly assistant professor of Christian studies, was promoted to the rank of associate professor. He joined HPU’s faculty in 2011.

Dr. Millard Kimery, professor of English and chair of the Department of English, has been named dean of the School of Humanities. He had served as interim dean since earlier this year. He has been a faculty member at HPU since 1997.

Dr. Stephen Kovach, a faculty member at HPU’s El Paso Center, was promoted from the rank of assistant professor of Christian studies and criminal justice to associate professor. Dr. Kovach has been on faculty since 2009.

Dr. Brad Lemler, professor of accounting, has been named dean of HPU’s School of Business after serving as interim dean since 2015. He joined HPU’s faculty in 2012.

Dr. Matthew McNiece, who served as assistant director of HPU’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy since 2013, has been named director of the program. Dr. McNiece, a 2003 HPU graduate, also serves as chair of the Department of History and Government and associate professor of history and government. He joined HPU’s faculty in 2004-2005, then returned in 2007.

Dr. Debra Powell, formerly assistant professor of business administration, was promoted to associate professor. She served as an adjunct faculty member in 2007 and joined the ranks of full-time faculty in 2013.

Dr. Craig Younce was promoted from assistant professor of biology to associate professor of biology and chair of the Department of Biological Sciences. He has been a faculty member at HPU since 2013.

More information about Howard Payne University is available online at


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