Arts & Sciences dean announces realignment of leadership structure and responsibilities

By Randy Fiedler

Baylor University College of Arts & Sciences Dean Lee C. Nordt has announced a realignment of leadership structure and responsibilities. Effective Aug. 1, the 26 departments in Arts & Sciences have been organized into two academic divisions, each under the leadership of a divisional dean.

Dr. Robyn L. Driskell now serves as divisional dean for humanities and social sciences, overseeing 13 departments: art; classics; communication; English, history; journalism, public relations and new media; modern foreign languages; museum studies; philosophy; political science; religion; sociology; and theatre arts. Dr. Driskell is a professor of sociology, a former graduate program director of sociology and was formerly the executive associate dean in the College of Arts & Sciences.

Dr. Kenneth T. Wilkins now serves as divisional dean for sciences, also overseeing 13 departments: anthropology; biology; chemistry and biochemistry; communication sciences and disorders; environmental science; family and consumer sciences; geology; mathematics; physics; psychology and neuroscience; statistical science; and the departments of aerospace studies (Air Force ROTC) and military science (Army ROTC). Dr. Wilkins is a professor of biology and formerly was associate dean for graduate studies and research in the Baylor Graduate School.

Under the new organizational plan, the five associate deans in the College of Arts & Sciences overseeing academics and special projects are remaining in those positions.

Dean Nordt said the realignment of these responsibilities is designed to achieve a number of goals, including providing greater advocacy and accountability for smaller groups of departments with increased academic commonality.

“This new leadership structure will provide our 26 departments with more individualized attention, as well as administrative consistency and accountability in day-to-day operations,” Nordt said. “Decisions on the realignment were made after soliciting ideas and feedback from our associate deans and department chairs. I believe we’ve continued to make the changes needed to keep us responsive to the needs of students and faculty.”

The new structure will enable Nordt to spend more time on Arts & Sciences strategic planning initiatives tied to Pro Futuris, the Baylor University strategic vision adopted in May 2012. It also will allow him to devote more of his time to development projects in the College of Arts & Sciences, including raising funds for student scholarships and for capital projects such as the proposed Baylor Arts District

“As Baylor’s largest academic unit, the College of Arts & Sciences directly affects our ability to achieve the vision set out in Pro Futuris,” Dr. Elizabeth B. Davis, executive vice president and provost, said. “The reorganization will provide for greater efficiency and effectiveness, and will allow Arts & Sciences to achieve its long-term goals.”

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