COVID-19 Information

See the latest updates and information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, including a list of University contact information at

portrait of Judith Gallagher

Judith Gallagher

Vice President for Academic Affairs

Secondary Education

Graduated in 1973

Explain your career path

I started as a high school English teacher and then returned to SEMO for my Master's. After a few years teaching English at the college level, I started work on my doctorate in higher education leadership and moved from department chair to dean , and now to academic vice-president. It's been a fulfilling and rewarding career with numerous opportunities to support student success.

What was your major at Southeast and what led you to that?

My bachelor's degree is in secondary education, with a major in English and a minor in history. My Master of Arts is in English.

Why did you choose to attend Southeast?

I grew up in Sikeston so SEMO was a familiar and affordable college with an excellent reputation for rigor. I had friends from high school that were already here, and lots of new freshmen from Sikeston and the town's around Sikeston meant that I already knew lots of people.

Who influenced you most during your time at Southeast?

I had great professors like Jenny Cooper and Bob Hamblin...and great ADPi sorority sisters...all who encouraged and supported me.

Share your best college memory.

When I was working on my Master's, my husband and I were resident advisors in Dearmont. During those two years, we had lots of great adventures that make for too many great memories to pick just one. Maybe the best was during a mixer with the men of Myers Hall when we had pipe burst and a flood in the lobby and cafeteria that had us mopping water until 2:00 am. Good times!!!

What is the most important thing you learned while you were at Southeast?

I learned the importance of keeping an open mind. I didn't always agree, but I always benefited from the various viewpoints that sometimes confirmed my beliefs and sometimes challenged them. I learned to listen and think before deciding and acting.

Describe Southeast in three words.

Welcoming, Challenging, Energizing

What is your greatest professional accomplishment?

During my almost 50 years as an educator, I'm proudest of the students and colleagues who are paying it forward.

How did your education at Southeast prepare you for what you are doing today?

My time at SEMO gave me not only credentials to pursue my career but also the confidence to take on the challenges that have come my way.

What advice would you give current students or recent graduates interested in pursuing a career in your professional field?

I would encourage people who want to be college administrators to serve first as faculty in their discipline, to become involved in advising students and to become involved in strategic planning at their college. This kind of exposure will prepare them to be effective administrators who thrive on the work and can't wait to get to campus each day.

What do you wish you had known before graduating and entering the "real world"?

I wish I had known that so much of my time at work would have me involved in the college's facilities...air conditioning that fails, computers that go down, windows that break in hail storms, toilets that don't flush......I just wasn't one covered such plot twists in my literature courses.


Scully 411

College of Education, Health and Human Studies
One University Plaza
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701