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Saint Louis University Names New Dean of SLU’s School for Professional Studies


ST. LOUIS — Tracy A. Chapman, Ph.D., has been named the next dean of the School for Professional Studies at Saint Louis University (SLU). Her appointment is effective Aug. 1, 2017.

Tracy Chapman, Ph.D.
Tracy Chapman, Ph.D.

Chapman currently serves as associate dean for adult and e-learning in the College of Professional Studies at Creighton University — a Jesuit institution located in Omaha, Nebraska — as well as the executive director of Creighton’s Center for Academic Innovation.

“I'm excited to work with Dr. Chapman as she assumes leadership of our School for Professional Studies,” said Saint Louis University Provost Nancy Brickhouse, Ph.D. “She helped transform Creighton's approach to online education in the context of the Jesuit educational tradition, and she is well-positioned to be an outstanding leader for the school and for the University.”

In her associate dean role at Creighton, Chapman led the College of Professional Studies’ transition from a service unit to a degree-granting college. This transition included creation of a general education core designed specifically for adult learners. Additionally, she helped establish a faculty governing body and an adult learning council for the college.

In addition to focusing on adult learners, Chapman also serves as Creighton’s lead administrator and central point of coordination for the university’s summer sessions. At Saint Louis University, responsibility for summer programming recently moved to SLU’s School for Professional Studies.

As executive director of Creighton’s Center for Academic Innovation, Chapman serves as the university’s lead administrator for distance education.  Her responsibilities include collaborating with senior leadership and faculty to define and advance Creighton’s vision for distance education, adult learners and innovative use of academic technologies.

The Center for Academic Innovation supports 30 distance education programs, spanning a variety of disciplines including health sciences, business, humanities and interprofessional education. Approximately 2,000 students are enrolled in these online programs.

I am honored to join the exceptional students, faculty, and staff (in SLU's School for Professional Studies) as we build on the school's strong foundation and chart a course for an exciting future."

Tracy Chapman, Ph.D.

Prior to serving as associate dean, Chapman was the executive director of the Office of eLearning and Academic Technologies in Creighton’s School of Pharmacy and Health Professions. There, she was responsible for leading a team that supports the school’s distance education programs and technology-infused campus programs in occupational therapy, pharmacy and physical therapy.

Chapman joined Creighton in 1999 as the university’s first instructional designer. In that role, she worked with faculty to create online and blended courses. She also developed seminars for faculty in online pedagogy and software application instruction.

An educational leader on state and national levels, Chapman has been a member of the Nebraska Distance Learning Association Board, a review corps member of the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the Jesuit Colleges and Universities’ Higher Education at the Margins curriculum committee.

In terms of scholarship, Chapman has authored or co-authored articles and book chapters on the pedagogy of teaching online. She also has presented numerous workshops regionally, nationally and internationally, with the purpose of preparing faculty for moving their teaching and learning to the online environment.

Before moving into higher education, Chapman taught special education for grades 1-5 in Amarillo, Texas, and Yutan, Nebraska. She received her Ph.D. in Internet-based education from the University of Nebraska, her master’s degree in instructional technology from West Texas A&M University, a teaching certificate from Southwest Texas State University and a Bachelor of Science degree in finance from the University of South Carolina. 

As she prepares to take on her new leadership role at Saint Louis University, Chapman said SLU’s School for Professional Studies is “uniquely positioned” to respond to the changing higher education landscape.

“By serving the growing population of non-traditional learners with a variety of contemporary, flexible, student-centric programs, the School for Professional Studies continues to advance SLU’s mission,” Chapman said. “I am honored to join the exceptional students, faculty, and staff as we build on the school's strong foundation and chart a course for an exciting future.”

At Saint Louis University, Chapman succeeds Jennifer Kohler Giancola, Ph.D., who has served as the interim dean of SLU’s School for Professional Studies since September 2016. It marked her second time as the school’s leader; she served as dean from 2010-2013. She also has been on the school’s faculty since 1999.

I am grateful for Dr. Giancola’s stewardship of SPS during the past year,” SLU Provost Brickhouse said. “She answered the call to be the interim dean, and demonstrated the same selfless leadership that characterized her first term in the position.  We are fortunate she will continue as a faculty leader at SLU, and serve as a key resource for Dr. Chapman.” 

Classes in the School for Professional Studies are typically offered in accelerated eight-week sessions and are designed for busy adults with affordable tuition rates as well as convenient, online classes. In Saint Louis University’s tradition of excellence, the School for Professional Studies caters to nontraditional students so they can pursue bachelor’s and master’s programs from globally recognized SLU. For more information, visit

Saint Louis University is a world-class Catholic, Jesuit institution educating nearly 13,000 students on two dynamic, urban campuses — in St. Louis, Missouri, and Madrid, Spain. Founded in 1818, the University will soon celebrate its bicentennial. With a legacy of innovative academics and research, compassionate health care and faithful service, Saint Louis University attracts a diverse community of scholars who push intellectual boundaries in pursuit of creative, meaningful ways to impact the world, striving to serve a higher purpose and seek a greater good. For more information, visit