Dean Jody Hironaka-Juteau, in consultation with Provost Zelezny, has announced the appointment of Dr. Sam Lankford as the new interim associate dean for the College of Health and Human Services, effective August 7, 2017. He is known for his strong commitment to student success, passion for developing faculty and staff, and collaborative spirit in engaging with growing valued community partnerships.

Dr. Lankford will be filling in for Dr. Mitzi Lowe who has been appointed the role of interim assistant vice president for Academic Advising by Provost Zelezny and Dr. Frank Lamas, vice president for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management. In her new role, effective August 3, 2017, Dr. Lowe will be responsible for providing vision and strategic leadership to campus-wide undergraduate advising programs and in matters related to graduation initiatives and collaborations designed to increase student retention and timely degree completion.


Dr. Lowe has over 25 years of experience in higher education, serving as an academic advisor, student affairs administrator, full professor, and most recently as the associate dean of the College of Health and Human Services, where she served as both interim associate dean and associate dean since 2013.

As the new interim associate dean of the college, Dr. Lankford will provide leadership and guidance in areas related to student success, faculty and staff development, implementation of the college’s strategic directions, and funding development.  He will continue to have a presence at the department level to further advance key projects and partnerships such as the Sustainable Parks and Recreation Community Initiative (SPARCI), a growing community engagement and service-learning program.

Dr. Lankford has over 27 years of experience in higher education, teaching in the area of parks and recreation, tourism, research methods, program evaluation and tourism policy and urban planning, and mentoring students at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels. In 2014, he joined the faculty of Fresno State, where he served as chair and professor of the Department of Recreation Administration. He implemented SPARCI, as well as the Recreation Research and Service program, which specializes in community planning and engagement. Since 2015, he has coordinated the San Joaquin Valley Recreation Summit, bringing together partners and stakeholders from across the Valley to address recreation and parks needs in the region.


Dr. Lankford earned his Ph.D. in Parks, Recreation and Tourism and a Master of Urban Planning degree from the University of Oregon. He also has a master’s degree in Park and Recreation Administration and bachelor’s degree in Geography and Community Planning from California State University, Chico.

Please join us in wishing the best of luck to both Dr. Lowe and Dr. Lankford!