Dr. R. Richard Ray Jr. of the Hope College kinesiology faculty has been appointed dean for the social sciences at the college.

A member of the faculty since 1982, he succeeds Dr. Nancy Sonneveldt Miller, who is retiring at the end of June after serving as dean since 1985. He has been appointed following a nationwide search based on the high quality of his service to the college and of his service and scholarship within his primary discipline of athletic training, according to the college's provost, Dr. James N. Boelkins.

"Dr. Ray was the consensus choice of the search committee based on his understanding of and commitment to our mission, experience as chair of a complex department, understanding of planning and assessment, previous leadership of the North Central Association accreditation process, national recognition in his field, work ethic, inclusive perspective, communication skills and ability to be a systems thinker," Boelkins said. "Dr. Ray will provide effective and caring leadership for the Social Science Division."

Ray is a professor of kinesiology and athletic trainer at Hope. He has served as chairperson of the department of kinesiology since 2003.

Under his leadership, the college's athletic training program grew into a full major that requires its graduates to complete 48 credit hours in a variety of disciplines and at least 1,200 hours of clinical work under the supervision of a certified athletic trainer. Hope was one of the first Michigan colleges to have its athletic training program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).

In addition to his other service to Hope, he led the college's successful effort to seek re-accreditation in 2004 by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Ray has been extensively involved in the discipline of athletic training at the regional and national level. He was co-chair of the National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) Education Task Force, was president of the Great Lakes Athletic Trainers' Association (GLATA) from 1990 to 1992, and is also a member and former president of the Michigan Athletic Trainers' Society. He is former editor of the professional journal "Athletic Therapy Today" and served as associate editor of the "Journal of Athletic Training."

He has received multiple honors through the years in recognition of his service to his profession and teaching. In June 2006, he was elected to the NATA Hall of Fame, the highest honor in the athletic training profession. In March 2004, he received an "Outstanding Educator Award" from GLATA, from which he had also received a "Distinguished Service Award" in March of 2002. In June of 2001, he received the "Sayers 'Bud' Miller Distinguished Educator Award" from NATA. In May of 1999, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Michigan Athletic Trainers' Society, which had presented him with its "Distinguished Athletic Trainer Award" in 1995.

In April 2005, he was inducted into the HonorsAcademy of the Health, Physical Education & Recreation (HPER) Department of Western Michigan University, from which he completed his master's and doctorate in 1980 and 1990 respectively. In January of 2000, he received Hope's "Provost's Award for Excellence in Teaching."

Ray has a wide range of research interests, and has received several grants to support his work. He is the editor or author of the books "Management Strategies in Athletic Training" (2005, 2000, 1994), "Counseling in Sports Medicine" (1999) and "Case Studies in Athletic Training Administration" (1995), all published by Human Kinetics. He is also among the more than a dozen current and former Hope faculty members who contributed chapters to the book "Beyond Tests and Quizzes: Creative Assessment in the College Classroom," published in October 2007 by Jossey-Bass, an imprint of John Wiley & Sons Inc. of San Francisco, Calif.

He has written numerous articles in scientific publications, and has presented papers at professional conferences including the annual clinical symposia in 2000 of both the Japan Athletic Trainers Organization in Tokyo and the Canadian Athletic Therapists Association in Niagara Falls.

In addition to holding his graduate degrees from Western Michigan University, he is a 1979 graduate of the University of Michigan.

Prior to joining the Hope faculty, Ray was an assistant athletic trainer at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan., for two years. While pursuing his master's degree he served as head athletic trainer at Kalamazoo College and as a graduate assistant athletic trainer at Western Michigan University.

The departments within the social science division at Hope include communication; economics, management and accounting; education; kinesiology; political science; psychology; and sociology and social work. As dean Ray will also be responsible for the college's CASA (Children's After School Achievement), PATH (Program for the Academically Talented at Hope), Project TEACH (Teachers Entering A Career through Hope) and Upward Bound programs, all of which are designed for local school children, as well as the intercollegiate athletic program and the Carl Frost Center for Social Science Research.