College Deanship Search Narrowed to Five

Three of the five finalists for the deanship of the College of Arts and Sciences have close ties to Carolina.

Each of the candidates will participate in public forums on the campus in the coming month that will explore the three most critical characteristics of a successful College of Arts and Sciences within a global, public, research university, and how each can be best developed and sustained.

Kim Barrett is dean of graduate studies at the University of California-San Diego, where she oversees the recruitment, academic advancement and climate for more than 4,000 master’s and doctoral students and guides the development of new graduate programs.

William Easterling III is dean of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences at Penn State University. A professor of geography and earth system science, he is an internationally recognized expert on how climate change likely will affect the earth’s food supply. Easterling holds three degrees from UNC, a bachelor’s in 1976, a master’s in 1981 and a doctorate in 1985.

Kevin Guskiewicz is senior associate dean for the natural sciences at UNC, where he oversees the academic departments and programs in the division of natural sciences and mathematics. The Kenan Distinguished Professor and co-director of the Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center, his research on sport-related concussion has brought him national attention.

Laurie Maffly-Kipp, the Archer Alexander Distinguished Professor in the Humanities at Washington University in St. Louis, taught for 24 years at Carolina in religious studies and American studies, and was chair of the religious studies department from 2008 to 13.

Keith Whitfield is vice provost for academic affairs at Duke University, where he also serves as a professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience and a research professor in the Department of Geriatric Medicine. He is responsible for oversight of academic assessment, cross-department and cross-school hiring, strategic academic initiatives and guidance for the creation of new degree programs.

The schedule for the forums is:

  • Easterling, 11-11:50 a.m. Sept. 9, Gerrard Hall;
  • Whitfield, 11-11:50 a.m. Sept. 11, Gerrard Hall;
  • Guskiewicz, 11-11:50 a.m. Sept. 17, Johnston Center, Graham Memorial;
  • Barrett, 11-11:50 a.m. Sept. 29, Toy Lounge, Dey Hall;
  • Maffly-Kipp, 11-11:50 a.m. Oct. 8, Gerrard Hall.

Karen Gil is leaving the deanship after six years to return to teaching.

More detailed academic biographies of the candidates are at