Travis, Rader assume leadership roles

Two longtime Mississippi State faculty members are assuming new roles within the university’s College of Arts and Sciences.

Political science professor Rick Travis, the college’s associate dean for academic affairs and student services, will begin serving at the end of this month as interim dean of the university’s largest academic unit. Succeeding him as the college’s interim associate dean for academic affairs and student services will be associate professor of sociology Nicole Rader.

Julia Hodges, MSU interim provost and executive vice president, selected Travis for the interim role with the March 30 retirement of R. Gregory Dunaway, who has held the position of dean since 2012.

“Rick’s experience as associate dean for academic affairs and student services will provide a smooth transition following the departure of Dean Dunaway, as he already has an excellent understanding of the various disciplines represented in the college and how the Dean’s Office functions,” Hodges said.

Rick Travis

Since joining the MSU faculty in 1993, Travis has served as the undergraduate coordinator of the political science program, and has served as interim head for the Department of Political Science and Public Administration and the Department of Sociology.

Travis said he looks forward to further leading his colleagues in efforts “to promote the faculty, students and staff in the College of Arts and Sciences as we continue our forward momentum as a college and a university.”

Dunaway said he believes Travis’ high standards of integrity, values, good understanding and command of the budget -- and especially his knowledge of the world of academia -- make him very qualified to lead the college.

“I’ve always respected him, and I know how much he cares about the education of our students,” Dunaway said. “He knows the academic side of the college and university exceptionally well, and there are very few other people at this university that have the command of knowledge in regards to academics that he does.”

Nicole Rader

When speaking about her new position, Rader expressed gratitude for the opportunity to serve as a leader for the college in which her primary academic department resides.

“I’m humbled to be asked to serve in this role, and I look forward to incorporating my prior experience with both students and faculty in various capacities,” Rader said.

Among the many leadership roles she has held since coming to MSU in 2005, Rader has served as the undergraduate coordinator of criminology and the sociology department’s graduate coordinator and Gender Studies program director. She also has served as chair of the President’s Commission on the Status of Women, as well as the Work Life Balance committee in the provost and executive vice president’s office.

For additional information on the College of Arts and Sciences, visit Karyn Brown, the college’s director of communication, also may be contacted at 662-325-7952 or

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Karyn Brown | College of Arts and Sciences

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