The University of Montana has a new dean of the College of Health Professions and Biomedical Sciences.

After an extensive search, Reed Humphrey, former professor and chair of the UM School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science, has been hired to replace retiring Dean David Forbes.

According to Provost Perry Brown, Humphrey’s experience at both UM and other schools made him the right person for the job.

“He came through the process as the person we wanted for the position,” Brown said. “He’s just a very sharp, energetic guy who brings us a lot of talent.”

In addition to his time at UM, Humphrey was a lecturer at the University of North Carolina, and has also taught at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia Commonwealth University and Idaho State University.

Outside applicants are often hired for such positions because they can bring in new ideas, Brown said, which is why Humphrey’s extensive experience prior to UM made him such an attractive candidate.

“He has knowledge of the workings of the university, so he can hit the ground running,” Brown said. “But it is also an advantage that he has experience from elsewhere.”

Brown said he anticipates Humphrey will work to expand the College of Health Professions and Biomedical Sciences in a number of ways.

“I think he is going to look for opportunities in health care that may not be well-represented in Montana,” Brown said.

In addition, Brown said he believes Humphrey will also continue to facilitate research, and expand the college’s already stout focus on rural health care, which Brown said is an important service.

“Rural populations everywhere find it hard to find good health care,” he said.

Humphrey will be taking over a college that has grown a lot under his predecessor, Brown said.

During his 26 years as dean, Forbes took a school with accreditation issues and a narrow focus and made it a robust, thriving college that offers a wide range of opportunities.

“(Forbes) made it a very strong college with a solid faculty and great programs,” Brown said. “He did the job he came here to do, and he did it well. It is a much more diverse college than before Dave came.”

Humphrey will assume his new responsibilities Tuesday.

Stephen Youmans is a journalism student at the University of Montana and an intern in the Missoulian newsroom.

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