Archive for Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Experienced KU administrator poised to take reins of college of arts and sciences

Danny Anderson, who is currently serving as the interim provost at Kansas University, is pictured Monday, April 5, 2010 in the rotunda of Strong Hall. Anderson will take over as dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences on July 1, 2010.

Danny Anderson, who is currently serving as the interim provost at Kansas University, is pictured Monday, April 5, 2010 in the rotunda of Strong Hall. Anderson will take over as dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences on July 1, 2010.

April 6, 2010

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Those who know Kansas University’s next dean of its College of Liberal Arts and Sciences say that KU should expect a good listener and someone receptive to the changing times.

Danny Anderson was named as the liberal arts dean after rising quickly through KU’s ranks, starting as an assistant professor of Spanish and Portuguese in 1988 and eventually becoming department chairman. He was named associate dean in the college for interdisciplinary programs and area studies centers in 2005 and vice provost for academic affairs in 2008.

In 2009, he was named as interim provost after Richard Lariviere departed for the University of Oregon.

Elizabeth Kuznesof, professor of history and director of KU’s Center of Latin American studies, said she’s known Anderson since the early 1990s.

He’s not much of a self-promoter, she said, and he often keeps a low profile.

“In spite of being somewhat low-key, he’s kind of an activist in a certain way,” Kuznesof said.

He’s been a leader in KU’s move toward “service learning.” Students in his Spanish courses went out into the community, she said, helping Hispanics fill out income tax forms and serving as translators for Spanish speakers in hospitals.

Anderson said he’s also traveled to western Kansas, in areas such as Garden City, and helped communicate with prospective Hispanic students, who often speak English, and with their families, who often don’t.

He’s worked to develop tools such as a Spanish-language Web site and has worked with a group of Hispanic leaders across the state to identify ways KU can better reach the Hispanic population.

He said he draws on the KU experiences of his two stepchildren — a stepson who graduated recently with a political science degree and a stepdaughter who’s studying geography — to stay in touch with students’ needs.

In his time away from work, Anderson said, he’s always trying new things — he recently took up guitar lessons — and he reads a lot, trying to keep up on Mexican literature as well as more contemporary fields.

Anderson’s peers say he’s recognized as a leading Mexican literature scholar in the U.S. and Mexico. He has traveled often to the country, and has visited with numerous authors. In Mexican author David Toscana’s “Dueblo por Miguel Pruneda,” there’s a KU professor named Danny Anderson who plays a role in the book — and eventually winds up getting murdered.

He got interested in Latin American culture after studying abroad in Spain — an experience he recommends for students.

“That serves as your first stepping-off point for seeing the world through a different set of eyes,” he said.

Jonathan Mayhew, a professor of Spanish and Portuguese, said Anderson is self-reflective, and doesn’t make decisions lightly.

“He uses the word ‘struggle’ a lot,” Mayhew said. “As in, ‘One thing I’ve been struggling with is ...’”

That’s an indication he’s considered all the possibilities of his decision, Mayhew said. It served him well as department chairman, when he presided over a period of high faculty retirements.

“He’s very hard-working and very fair. He handled that period well,” Mayhew said. “I’m sure he’ll have plenty of challenges as dean.”

Comments

Shardwurm 5 years, 4 months ago

In other 'news' it rained last night.

Bladerunner 5 years, 4 months ago

Wish I got paid to be a good listener. I could def make a career out of it.

1983Hawk 5 years, 4 months ago

Danny has a proven track record of excellence in administration. This was a fantastic choice!

yourworstnightmare 5 years, 4 months ago

Mr. Hyland,

Please refrain from calling this position the liberal arts dean. It is the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Sciences. Sciences.

I personally wish he were a liberal arts dean, and that there was also a Dean of the College of Science, but KU has a College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Please refer to it correctly.

Danielle Brunin 5 years, 4 months ago

Okay, with the situation in Mexico right now, I wouldn't take my likeness being murdered in a book lightly. Maybe it was a warning!

Seriously though, he sounds like he'll do a good job! At least he's not working in the KUAC.

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