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Dr. Melissa A. Lea Named Academic Advising and Student Support Dean

by Web on August 18, 2015

In her new role as assistant dean for academic advising and student support, Dr. Melissa A. Lea will help ensure Millsaps College students start off on and remain on the right foot.

“I will provide student support for time management, study skills, and stress management,” said Lea, who is also associate professor of psychology & neuroscience and director of the neuroscience and cognitive studies program at Millsaps. “I will also be a resource for referrals to other campus services, such as mental and spiritual counseling.”


Lea, who has worked at Millsaps since 2007, said her new role will allow her to help students acclimate to Millsaps if they need assistance. “I like thinking of it as a means to help students with finding tutors, approaching professors, and transitioning to college,” she said.

Dr. Keith Dunn, senior vice president and dean of the College, said Millsaps has a strong legacy of student support and success. “Having Melissa Lea in the assistant dean’s role allows us to bring the interrelated areas of academic advising and student support and the academic side of retention and student success under one proven, student-centered leader,” he said.

Lea’s duties include coordinating support for academically at-risk students and working with students who must withdraw from classes during a term or who need to take a leave of absence.

She will assist the Enrollment Management Office in recruiting and advising prospective students and will also recruit, select and train all summer advisors and coordinate all summer advising sessions for new students.  She will be responsible for Major Declaration Day and the College’s annual Awards Day, which recognizes top scholars in all departments and divisions of the College.

Lea will teach two courses each year, as a member of the Psychology and Neuroscience department.

A graduate of the University of Michigan where she received her B.S. and Miami University where she received her master’s degree and doctorate, Lea has studied food perception and behaviors that lead to eating disorders, as well as how social roles influence team cohesion in athletics. 

She established the neuroscience and cognitive studies major at Millsaps and helped bring the Dance for PD program to campus as a community engaged learning opportunity for neuroscience and cognitive studies students and an opportunity to offer the program that focuses on movement to anyone with Parkinson’s disease.