KU announces interim dean of liberal arts and sciences

Don Steeples

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean Danny Anderson will leave Kansas University for a new job this semester, and KU will launch a nationwide search for a new dean later this year.

Until that person is hired, geology professor Don Steeples will lead the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences as interim dean, KU announced Wednesday.

Steeples will begin the role of interim dean in March.

Steeples is the Dean A. McGee Distinguished Professor of Applied Geophysics in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and known as an expert in seismology. In his years at KU, he has held administrative roles including deputy director of the Kansas Geological Survey, chairman of the Department of Geology and senior vice provost.

In a news release, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter praised Steeples as a trusted leader, teacher and researcher.

“We are fortunate to have someone of his caliber serving as interim dean, and I’m confident he will continue the incredible momentum generated under Dean Anderson as we conduct a search for the College’s next permanent dean,” Vitter said.

Steeples said he looked forward to continuing a number of important College of Liberal Arts and Sciences initiatives, including implementation of the KU Core and the construction of the new Earth, Energy and Environment Center and Innovation Way.

Steeples has a doctoral degree in geophysics from Stanford University and has been a distinguished professor of geology since 1993. His specialty is seismic imaging of the shallow subsurface of the earth, used to detect hidden earthquake faults and even clandestine tunnels under international borders.

In addition to research, he has consulted for the government and private companies and served as president of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists in 2013-2014.

Dean Anderson announced in December he would leave KU to become president of Trinity University in San Antonio. He’s scheduled to start there in May.

Also on Wednesday, KU announced the appointment of another College of Liberal Arts and Sciences administrator. Associate professor of history Paul Kelton will begin July 1 as the associate dean for humanities.