Kansas University named Danny Anderson, its sitting interim provost, as the university’s dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences on Wednesday.
He will start the job on July 1. He was one of five finalists for the liberal arts position that opened when former dean Joseph Steinmetz left for Ohio State University.
Greg Simpson has been interim dean of the college since Steinmetz’s departure.
The college is the largest academic unit at KU, and is home to more than 50 departments and the School of the Arts. More than 17,000 students are enrolled in the college.
Anderson is a Spanish scholar who has been at KU in various academic and administrative roles since 1988, including time as associate dean in the liberal arts college and as vice provost for academic affairs. He has also worked at the University of Texas-Austin.
“As interim provost, Danny Anderson has been a highly effective leader for the university during a time of budgetary challenge,” Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said in a release. “With his broad experience and deep commitment to scholarship and teaching, he will be an outstanding dean.”
He has played a role in a number of KU initiatives, including the Jayhawk Generations Scholarship, which provides partial tuition waivers to out-of-state legacy students, and the Latino Vision Council, which led to the first Hispanic chapter of the KU Alumni Association and a Spanish-language version of KU’s Web site.
Anderson said he would work to bring about a focus on planning for KU’s future, focusing on teaching and research to become the best university KU can be — issues that take on a particular urgency in tight budget times.
“In reality, we should always be in touch with that urgency,” Anderson said.
He joined the search as a late applicant — Anderson’s candidacy was announced after all three finalists for KU’s provost position were revealed — and he was chosen over Simpson, Matthew Moen, liberal arts dean at the University of South Dakota; and Joseph C. Shields, professor and chairman of physics and astronomy at the University of Ohio. Susan Carlson, associate provost for faculty advancement and diversity at Iowa State University, withdrew her name from the search.
Kathleen McCluskey-Fawcett, director of KU’s honors program and chairwoman of the dean search committee, said the committee was pleased with the range of Anderson’s experience.
“He’s a very strong academic, and he has this administrative ability on top of that,” McCluskey-Fawcett said. “That’s kind of the perfect storm.”