SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Thom Cobb, Slippery Rock University associate professor of dance, plans to retire in July after 36 yeas at SRU, but he will continue to further the cause of dance education by serving as president of the National Dance Education Organization.
Cobb has been elected president of the association for 2013-2015. He will provide leadership for the 2,600-member non-profit organization as it works to advance and promote high-quality dance education.
"I am very happy to serve in this position and give back to an organization that has given me, and my wife, so much," Cobb said. "It is also a logical extension of my 40-year career in dance and dance education. I am honored and humbled to serve in this position, especially to follow in the footsteps of the other past presidents whom I admire greatly." Cobb said he will preside at all association board meetings, work closely with the executive director and the home office in Silver Springs, Md., and oversee the task forces to investigate the re-structuring of the board and to develop a second journal published by NDEO.
"I also preside over membership meetings and special sections at the national conference which will be held next year in Chicago and the following year in Phoenix," he said. "It truly is no bother. In fact, being retired from a full-time teaching position will allow me the time and energy necessary to be committed to this position and the work that it will entail over the next two years."
Cobb said another goal is to see dance certification for public schools implemented in more states. Susan McGreevy-Nichols, association executive director, said Cobb would serve as the national voice for the association, build the organizational culture and provide leadership on initiatives needed to promote growth. Cobb joined the association in 2002 and has served two, three-year terms on the board before becoming president.
His past contributions included overseeing structure, bylaws and knowledge of "Roberts Rule of Order" for organizational operations. "NDEO is looking forward to the leadership of Mr. Cobb and believes he will help to guide the organization to a new level of excellence and service to the field," McGreevy-Nichols said.
Cobb said the NDEO recently established a partnership with the "So You Think You Can Dance" television's show Dizzy Feet Foundation, which will provide additional exposure. Cobb, whose long career has included many milestones, joined the SRU faculty in 1978 after four years at Illinois Wesleyan University.
His experience in teaching, performing and choreography have led to numerous residences and presentations at colleges and universities, public schools and conferences during his career. Instrumental in launching the dance major at SRU, Cobb teaches traditional forms, jazz dance technique, Creative Dance for Children, Intro to Dance and also choreographs musicals for the Department of Theatre.
He received the 2007 "College/University Dance Educator of the Year Award" from the National Dance Association of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance and the 2008 "Dance Educator Award for Post-Secondary Education" from the National Dance Education Organization.
He received the SRU President's Award for Outstanding Service in 1981 and the 2013 President's Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Cobb said his motto has been "Teaching to me is an art...not a science."
Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.