Dr. Edward Serna, formerly the director of grants management and compliance, has been promoted to chief of staff and associate vice chancellor for external funding at the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith, effective July 1.

In his new position, Serna will work closely with the chancellor on a wide variety of administrative and executive duties, special projects, and initiatives. Serna will also continue to head the university’s external funding efforts by securing grant funds that further the university’s strategic agenda.

As grants director, Serna has begun fostering a grant-writing culture at the university that has increased grant funds to the university and tripled the number of grant proposals submitted in fiscal year 2016 compared to the previous year, with a majority of that growth in federal grant opportunities.

He said he looked forward to the role.

“I am honored and excited for the wonderful opportunity to work alongside Dr. Beran and his talented senior staff,” Serna said. “I look forward to working with administrators, faculty and staff across the university to support the university’s strategic initiatives.”

Prior to entering higher education, Serna forged a career as a project manager through his work with Science & Engineering Services in Huntsville, Ala. Previously, he spent seven years as a strategy and organization associate at Booz Allen Hamilton, where he served as a consultant for the U.S. Army and NASA.

When he began teaching as an adjunct instructor in 2007, he discovered a passion for higher education and began pursuing his doctorate at the University of Alabama in 2012. He came to UAFS in 2015 after a year as an assistant professor of management at Athens State University.

Dr. Paul B. Beran, UAFS chancellor, lauded Serna’s background and his strategic perspective.

“Dr. Serna’s higher education credentials coupled with significant business and industry experience is a welcome addition to the university’s administration,” Beran said. “His strategic mindset will help us to analyze and realize areas of further growth and opportunity for the university moving forward.”

Serna earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Winthrop University, a master’s degree in industrial management from Clemson University and a master’s degree in information systems from Auburn University prior to his doctorate from the University of Alabama.