Campus News

Tennessee professor named new family and consumer sciences dean

Laura Jolly
Laura Jolly

Laura Dunn Jolly, a University of Tennessee professor and nationally recognized scholar in retailing and merchandising, has been named dean of the UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences.

Jolly’s appointment, announced  by Provost Arnett C. Mace Jr., is effective Aug. 15. She succeeds Sharon Nickols, who left the position in June 2006 to return to the college faculty.  Jan Hathcote, who was associate dean for academic affairs, served the past year as interim dean.

Jolly has been a professor in the department of retail, hospitality and tourism management in the University of Tennessee College of Education, Health and Human Sciences since 2001. Previously she was chair of the department of interior design, merchandising and textiles at the University of Kentucky. She was also a faculty member in the department of design, housing and merchandising at Oklahoma State University, where she earned her Ph.D. and master’s degrees and served as director of the Center for Apparel Marketing and Merchandising.

Jolly is an authority on retailing, particularly in rural areas, and its effect on economic growth in rural communities. She has conducted extensive research on consumer attitudes and purchasing strategies related to electronic commerce, and on theoretical models of merchandising. She also has written and spoken widely on technology developments in textiles and apparel, and on trends in family and consumer sciences education.

UGA President Michael F. Adams said Jolly is “an experienced and distinguished administrator who I am confident can take the College of Family and Consumer Sciences to the next level of quality. She was the overwhelming recommendation of the search committee, and I was glad to receive the provost’s recommendation to appoint her.”

Jolly’s research, supported by more than $415,000 in grants, has resulted in scores of articles and reports in scholarly publications and presentations at professional meetings in the U.S. and abroad.

She is a past president of the International Textile and Apparel Association and has been elected a Fellow of the association. She is also a leader in the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, serving on the board of directors and as vice president for programs, and currently as associate editor of the association’s research journal. She received the association’s Leader Award in 1999. In addition, Jolly has been national program vice chair for Kappa Omicron Nu professional honor society and served on the group’s national editorial board.

At the University of Tennessee she served on a committee of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission and on the Tennessee Tourism Roundtable. She was a member of the university’s Athletic Board and served on numerous committees dealing with academic and administrative matters.