Texas Tech University

Texas Tech College of Education Selects Interim Dean

April 8, 2024

Texas Tech College of Education Selects Interim Dean

Kamau Siwatu was promoted from interim associate dean for academic affairs and will begin his duties this summer.

Kamau Siwatu, a professor of educational psychology and the interim associate dean for academic affairs, has been named interim dean of the College of Education at Texas Tech University. 

During this interim appointment beginning June 1, Siwatu will fulfill the responsibilities of the dean's position, including providing leadership in teaching, research and service. He will also represent the college in the university community, alumni relations, fundraising and in state, federal and private sector academic and emerging research issues. Additionally, he will advocate for the college and foster relationships with other units on campus, the community, and school districts; manage enrollment, recruitment and retention of students; and oversee the college's human, financial and physical resources. 

Kamau Siwatu
Kamau Siwatu

“What I am most looking forward to during my tenure as interim dean is tackling the challenges head-on and shaping the direction of the college,” Siwatu said.  

In January 2024, Siwatu was appointed interim associate dean for academic affairs, which was a significant shift in his responsibilities and leadership role within the college. He exercised strong leadership, strategic planning and collaboration with various stakeholders that included faculty, staff, students and administrators.  

Siwatu drove initiatives to develop a college-wide strategic enrollment management plan designed to optimize the recruitment and admissions process, enhance student experiences and ensure equitable access to quality education. 

Prior to his appointment as interim associate dean, beginning in summer 2020, Siwatu became the chair of the Educational Psychology, Leadership, & Counseling department – the largest graduate department in the College of Education in terms of programs offered, students served and number of faculty. 

In this position, Siwatu ensured compliance with institutional policies, managed departmental budgets and resolved conflicts while maintaining a focus on academic excellence and faculty development. His accomplishments include implementing streamlined faculty review processes, fostering a culture of collaboration and achieving a 100% success rate in promotion and tenure reviews. 

“From a personal standpoint, since I became department chair, I have been laser-focused on maintaining a work-life balance and prioritizing my well-being,” Siwatu said. “The systems and boundaries that I have put in place as department chair helped me in my role as interim associate dean. So, I am now looking forward to scaling up these efforts and assessing how well these principles of practice transfer when the demands of the position intensify.”

In the announcement of Siwatu's interim dean position, Provost and Senior Vice President Ron Hendrick shared gratitude for Siwatu's willingness to serve in this role.  

“I am looking forward to Kamau leading the College of Education in this interim capacity,” he said. “His depth of understanding of research, the university and his ability to foster collaboration make him a great candidate for this role.”

Siwatu felt a mix of emotions once the news of his promotion went public.  

“I was excited about the opportunity to shape the direction of the college, but I also felt a sense of nervousness due to the weight of my new responsibilities,” he said. “I felt a sense of humility. I also felt a sense of gratitude for those in my circle who insisted that a deanship was in my future.  

“Some of my colleagues, near and far, proclaimed this as early as 2011, shortly after my promotion to associate professor. They planted the seed. I am also grateful for the strong support that I have from both faculty and staff across the college.” 

Siwatu earned his bachelor's degree from California State University, Dominguez Hills, his master's degree from Florida State University, and a doctorate from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. 

Since he was hired by Texas Tech as a professor in 2005, Siwatu has taught a range of courses, including Educational Psychology, Cognition and Instruction, and the Foundations of Mixed Methods Research. Siwatu's former students comment about his dedication to providing innovative instructional approaches, linking theory to practice, and ensuring that his students receive a challenging yet rewarding educational experience. 

Siwatu also gained a national reputation stemming from publications associated with his primary research agenda, which is related to culturally responsive teaching self-efficacy. He has published in high-impact journals such as Urban Education, Contemporary Educational Psychology, Teaching and Teacher Education, and the Journal of Educational Research. 

It is surreal for him to realize next year will begin his second decade at Texas Tech.  

“Interestingly, when I first started, I did not imagine that I would spend the next 19 years of my life at Texas Tech University,” he said.

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