University Relations and Communications

MSU Billings names Cremean as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences

June 4, 2014



Carmen Price, University Relations, 657-2243


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — Christine Shearer-Cremean has been named the twelfth dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Montana State University Billings.


Dean Cremean

She joins the ranks of four other college deans—all of which are women, marking a continuation of her predecessor Dr. Tasneem Khaleel who served as the College of Arts and Sciences dean for the past decade. After a semester long sabbatical,Khaleel will return as a science department faculty member in 2015.


“The deans at MSUB are an amazing group of smart, funny, articulate and powerful women. And I’m pleased to join them.”  


Cremean assumes her new role on July 7. Selected among several candidates from across the nation, Cremean comes to MSUB from MSU Northern where she served for the last two years as dean of the College of Education, Arts and Sciences and Nursing.


“I am thrilled to be selected as the next dean of MSU Billings’ College of Arts and Sciences, and am honored to lead our community of world-class students and faculty,” Cremean said.

Central to her vision and the school’s mission are excellence and principled leadership, Cremean said.


Cremean previously served as the chair of humanities at Black Hills State University, and prior to that served as the school’s director of composition and director of its Writing Center. She is also a past exit exam coordinator for Saint Francis College in Loretto, Pa. 


She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English literature from the University of Dayton and her doctorate in interdisciplinary rhetoric and writing in 1997 from Bowling Green State University, all in Ohio.


Cremean’s appointment comes as the school works toward expansion of the 67-year-old Science Hall, which will add more than 31,000 square feet to the existing building and will house programs in both science and allied health. 


The project, currently called Yellowstone Hall, will evolve undergraduate and graduate science education and will provide new space for interdisciplinary teaching, research and service-learning projects.


“It’s an exciting time to come on board,” Cremean said. “When the expansion project for sciences and allied health professions is complete, our new center will transform how our students learn and will establish MSU Billings as a leader in multidisciplinary scholarship and research,” she said.


“Dr. Shearer-Cremean has all of the qualities that we want as a leader at MSU Billings,” said MSUB Provost Dr. Mark Pagano, who charged the national search led by Dr. Barbara Wheeling, dean of the College of Business and Dr. Patricia Vettel-Becker, chair of the Art Department in the College in the College of Arts and Sciences. “She brings a background of strong scholarship and impressive skills in academic administration. She will work collaboratively with faculty, students, staff and alumni to take MSUB to the next level while honoring the principled leadership of Dr. Khaleel’s legacy.”


In fact, along with research interests of passionate faculty—such as Khaleel—and the enthusiasm of students about their learning environment, the emphasis and spirit of collaboration is really what drew Cremean to MSUB, she said.


“I’ve been so impressed by the faculty and leadership on MSUB’s campuses,” Cremean said. “People are truly engaged in the students and everyone works hard to foster student success. I’ve witnessed nothing but great communication and collaboration—there are no silos here.” 


Serving in roles as dean and department chair in past appointments, Dr. Shearer-Cremean has played significant roles in both Montana’s and South Dakota’s success in teaching and research, MSU Northern’s  Chancellor Dr. James Limbaugh said.


“Dean Cremean did an outstanding job moving our institution forward,” said Limbaugh. “She will be missed but we are excited that she is staying within the MSU family of campuses.”


Limbaugh said Cremean has been a key player in MSU Northern’s comprehensive Academic Program Prioritization Review as well as developed multiple new programs, one of which significantly increased its enrollment in its first year.


Cremean said she hopes to deepen the connections between MSUB and other institutions within Montana’s university system. She said she also hopes to strengthen relationships with the Billings business community.


“I see wonderful opportunities to align MSUB’s mission and goals with the greater Yellowstone County region, bringing a tradition of research, expertise and creativity to help address some of the challenges the community and surrounding areas face.” 


With a PhD in interdisciplinary rhetoric and writing, her background works at a diverse set of intersections of disciplines, she said, which is supportive to the depth and breadth of the College of Arts and Sciences.


The college offers 11 academic units including undergraduate and graduate degrees.


“I believe the College of Arts and Sciences is comprised of some of the state’s greatest faculty and students, and is on the verge of becoming even greater,” she said. “I look forward to being a part of helping the school reaching its fullest potential.”


PHOTO ABOVE: Dr. Christine Shearer-Cremean