Neurologist Named New Dean of School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Dr. Steven L. Small

Dr. Steven L. Small, professor of neurology at the University of California, Irvine and director and chief scientific officer of the Medical Innovation Institute at the UC Irvine School of Medicine, has accepted appointment as dean of the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences (BBS) at The University of Texas at Dallas. He will assume the responsibilities of dean on April 15.

Small, who holds a PhD in computer science from the University of Maryland in College Park and a medical degree from the University of Rochester, has conducted extensive research on the neurobiology of language and motor skills, and the effects of stroke on these functions. His areas of expertise range from language processing and computational neuroscience to neuroimaging. His research involves direct investigation of human subjects, particularly in speech and language, and more recently clinical and fundamental neurobiological aspects of mild traumatic brain injuries such as concussions.

“UT Dallas has the most exciting trajectory of any university in the country,” Small said. “Behavioral and Brain Sciences has a trajectory that is ascending, and my field is what BBS does: neuroscience, psychology, and speech and hearing sciences.”

“Dr. Small is a builder. He has a great talent for assembling ideas and teams that cross traditional academic boundaries,” said Dr. Michael Kilgard, Margaret Fonde Jonsson Professor and chief science officer and executive director of the Texas Biomedical Device Center at UT Dallas. “Dr. Small understands our diverse faculty and supports our aspiration to build on our strengths and establish our national reputation for cutting-edge research.”

Dr. Small brings a unique combination of skills to our University, as a researcher and a leader. His passion for accelerating the pace of innovation meshes with our ethos as a national research university.

Dr. Inga Musselman, UT Dallas provost

Small moved to UC Irvine in 2010 to become chair of the department of neurology after serving for 11 years as a professor of neurology and psychology at the University of Chicago. Earlier, after completing his medical residency at the University of Pittsburgh, he served on the faculties of the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Maryland before moving to Chicago. Small served as editor-in-chief of the journal Brain and Language from 2005 until January 2019. He is the founder and first president of the Society for the Neurobiology of Language and a fellow of the American Academy of Neurology and the American Neurological Association.

“Dr. Small brings a unique combination of skills to our University, as a researcher and a leader,” said Dr. Inga Musselman, UT Dallas provost, vice president for academic affairs and the Cecil H. Green Distinguished Chair of Academic Leadership. “His passion for accelerating the pace of innovation meshes with our ethos as a national research university.”

Small’s appointment follows a period of transition in BBS necessitated by the death in 2015 of Dr. Bert Moore, who had led the school as dean for 26 years. During the intervening time, the school has been led on an interim basis by two distinguished members of the school’s faculty, first Dr. James Bartlett, Ashbel Smith Professor, followed by Dr. Margaret Owen, director of the Center for Children and Families and Robinson Family Professor.

“We’re all eager for Dr. Small’s arrival so that under his leadership we can progress to tackling the next phase of development, growth and excellence throughout the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences,” Owen said.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].