Keena Arbuthnot and Stephania Cormier Named Associate Vice Presidents of Research & Economic Development

The LSU Office of Research & Economic Development, or ORED, adds two noteworthy scholars to its team to increase and broaden its support of strategic research efforts across campus.


Dr. Arbuthnot

Keena Arbuthnot

On October 1, Vice President Samuel J. Bentley will welcome Keena Arbuthnot, professor in the LSU School of Education, as the new Associate Vice President for Humanities, Social Sciences, and Allied Fields, and Stephania Cormier, professor and Wiener Endowed Chair in the LSU Department of Biological Sciences as well as professor in the LSU Department of Comparative Biomedical Sciences at the School of Veterinary Medicine, as the new Associate Vice President for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
“Our searches for two new Associate Vice Presidents were exciting and challenging because of the number of high-quality applicants for each position,” Vice President Samuel J. Bentley said. “The ideas, skill sets, and passion for LSU that each applicant brought to the table were outstanding. In the end we could only select two candidates, but our optimism for the future of LSU and ORED was reinforced by this extensive exchange of ideas and aspirations.”
Keena Arbuthnot will facilitate ORED undergraduate research efforts, oversee humanities-focused centers and institutes that report to ORED, and coordinate faculty nominations for major awards and national-level advisory boards. She will also partner with the Associate Deans for Research in the LSU Colleges of Humanities & Social Sciences, Human Sciences & Education, Business, and Mass Communication to address both challenges and opportunities within those fields.
“Dr. Arbuthnot has an outstanding international reputation in the study of psychological contexts in education,” Bentley commented. “She is commended by her peers as a passionate and skilled communicator and a leader on the rise. We are very lucky to have her help chart our course forward.”
Stephania Cormier will oversee centers and institutes in science and engineering fields that report to ORED. She will also work closely with the Associate Deans for Research in the LSU Colleges of Science, Engineering, Coast & Environment, and Veterinary Medicine as well as lead the Office of Research Advancement, which is part of ORED, in the development of large grant proposals.
“Dr. Cormier is internationally respected for her extensive research on impacts of environmental chemical exposure on human health,” Bentley remarked. “The multiple nominations we received for her candidacy lauded her talents in interdisciplinary teambuilding, her leadership skills as well as her scholarship. We are fortunate to have Dr. Cormier on our team.”
Stephen David Beck, chair of the search committee and continuing AVP, will focus his efforts on research and creative activity in the Arts and continue to oversee compliance and operations.
“We are so grateful for the efforts of the search committee members in identifying, interviewing, and evaluating candidates for these two AVP positions,” Beck said. “I am very pleased with the outcome of the searches and look forward to having Dr. Cormier and Dr. Arbuthnot join our team.”

Dr. Cormier

Stephania Cormier


Andrew J. Maas, continuing AVP for research and technology transfer and director of the Office of Innovation & Technology Commercialization, appreciates the new energy that he believes Cormier and Arbuthnot will bring to ORED.
“I truly believe that their dedication and love for the research enterprise will help grow and develop LSU’s research portfolio in the coming years,” Maas remarked.

Keena Arbuthnot received her bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Central Missouri in 1999. She went on to get her master’s and doctoral degrees in educational psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (in 2002 and 2005, respectively), specializing in psychometrics, applied statistics, and program evaluation. She began her career as a lecturer on education and postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University where she studied issues related to the achievement gap, test fairness, and student achievement in mathematics. Arbuthnot joined the faculty at the LSU School of Education in the fall of 2007. She is the author of Filling in the Blanks: Understanding Standardized Testing and the Black-White Achievement Gap as well as Global Perspectives on Educational Testing: Examining Fairness, High-Stakes and Policy Reform.

Stephania Cormier received her Honors Baccalaureate in biology and chemistry from University of Southwestern Louisiana, now University of Louisiana at Lafayette, in 1991. After receiving her PhD from LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans in 1997, she started her career as a postdoctoral fellow at the Mayo Clinic where she focused her research on the pathogenesis of asthma before becoming an assistant professor in the LSU Department of Biological Sciences. Cormier then worked at the pediatric department in the Division of Infectious Disease at University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center, where she received tenure and eventually became the Associate Vice Chancellor of Research with a focus on global partnerships. Cormier returned to LSU in 2017 where she leads the LSU Superfund Research Center, studying the respiratory impacts of exposure to particulate matter containing environmentally persistent free radicals. Cormier’s other research interests are in understanding how respiratory infection alters the developing lung and immune systems, predisposing to asthma.

“I am excited that we now have an ORED executive leadership team that addresses the full range of academic programs and research needs at LSU,” Bentley said. “Laissez les bonnes idées rouler!”


Elsa Hahne
LSU Office of Research & Economic Development