Kevin Guskiewicz, a neuroscientist and internationally recognized expert on sport-related concussions, will be the 22nd dean of UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences.
Chosen in a nationwide search, Guskiewicz — who is a senior associate dean in the college — will succeed Karen Gil, who will return to the psychology department after serving as dean for more than six years. He will assume the position Jan. 1.
A 20-year member of Carolina’s faculty, Guskiewicz shared a vision for the immediate and long-term future of the college that inspired the search committee, and he emerged early as a top candidate.
“An extremely accomplished teacher and researcher renowned for his expertise in injury prevention, Kevin represents the very best of Carolina,” Chancellor Carol L. Folt said.
Guskiewicz currently oversees the academic departments and programs in the division of natural sciences and mathematics. He also is the Kenan Distinguished Professor of exercise and sport science and co-director of the Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center and director of the Center for the Study of Retired Athletes. He holds appointments in UNC’s departments of orthopaedics and physical medicine and rehabilitation, the UNC Injury Prevention Research Center and the doctoral program in human movement science.
“Kevin combines a deep interest in academic research with a real appreciation for the importance of using his findings to impact important problems,” said Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost James W. Dean. “In his senior associate dean role, he has ably guided the natural sciences during a time of great change, including a pedagogical revolution in the teaching of science.”
Guskiewicz earned a bachelor of science in athletic training from West Chester University, a master’s in exercise physiology/athletic training from the University of Pittsburgh and doctorate in sports medicine from the University of Virginia. Over the past 22 years, his research has focused on sport-related concussion, investigating its effect on balance and neurocognitive function in athletes, and the long-term neurological issues related to playing sport.
His groundbreaking work has earned numerous awards, including fellowships in the American College of Sports Medicine, the National Academy of Kinesiology and the National Athletic Trainers’ Association. His research has influenced concussion guidelines and recommendations made by these organizations as well as the NCAA and the NFL. He was named to the NCAA’s Concussion Committee, the NFL Players Association’s Mackey-White Committee and the NFL’s Head, Neck, and Spine Committee.
In 2011, he was awarded a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship for his innovative work on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of sport-related concussions. He and his colleagues used that award to help improve safety in high school sports and to help the U.S. military identify and treat serious head injuries. In 2013, Time magazine named him a Game Changer, one of 18 “innovators and problem-solvers that are inspiring change in America.”
Guskiewicz will continue his involvement with UNC’s concussion program.
He and his wife, Amy, have four children.
The College of Arts and Sciences is the largest academic unit on campus and forms the University’s academic core, with more than 16,000 undergraduate students, more than 2,500 graduate students and nearly 1,000 faculty who teach 85 percent of all undergraduate hours. The college offers more than 40 academic majors and is composed of more than 70 departments, curricula, programs, centers and institutes. Eight of its departments are ranked in the top 25 graduate programs by U.S. News & World Report.