MU’s College of Education dean, Kathryn Chval, will no longer serve in the position, effective immediately.

Erica Lembke, chair of the college’s Department of Special Education, will serve as interim dean, Provost Latha Ramchand said in a Tuesday email to faculty, staff and students at the college. Chval will return to teaching and research.

Ramchand did not provide any explanation in the email for the change in leadership.

Chval emailed a statement to The Missourian on Wednesday. 

"I served as a leader in the College of Education for the past 9 years, and I’m proud of what our team accomplished during that time," she said. "Our faculty, professional staff, and students were leaders on our campus in 2015 and continue to speak out when injustices occur. I know that they will continue to have a tremendous impact at Mizzou and around the world. I am grateful for their dedication and commitment to make our community, state, and world a better place. Our alumni, donors, and supporters made countless investments to transform educational opportunities for so many. I will treasure my interactions with them."

Chval has served as dean for the college since March 2016. She has worked at MU since 2003. Her interim replacement, Lembke, has also been at MU since 2003 and has served as chair of the Department of Special Education since 2015.

“I look forward to the College of Education’s future success and will do everything I can to help the college succeed,” Ramchand said in the email.

In 2018, Chval was one of four candidates vying for the position of provost, during which she emphasized her focus on diversity and inclusivity at MU.

Her vision of diversity would be “a collection of people, experience and expertise that complements, completes one another and, hopefully, intentionally and strategically grows over time,” according to previous Missourian reporting. She said it would build on her strategies utilized at the College of Education.

Ramchand was chosen over Chval for the position.

As dean, she developed The Bridge — a group for faculty, staff and faculty at the college to meet weekly and “develop and expand their multicultural knowledge, awareness and skills.” She also held monthly open houses with faculty, staff and students.

Lembke, in addition to her position chairing the Department of Special Education, has served on several college and campus community committees, according to Ramchand’s email.

She was president of the national board for the Division for Learning Disabilities and editor for Assessment for Effective Intervention.

  • Galen Bacharier is a reporter and assistant city editor at the Missourian. He has reported on state government and higher education. Reach him at or on Twitter @galenbacharier.

  • Executive editor and Missouri Community Newspaper Management Chair

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