Dr. Greg Kinzer, Austin College professor of English, has been appointed Dean of Humanities. He began his duties for the role on August 1.
The three divisions of Humanities, Sciences, and Social Sciences each have a dean appointed for a six-year term by the president upon advice from the vice president for Academic Affairs, who consults with each division’s faculty. Dr. Lisa M. Brown, professor of psychology, continues as dean of Social Sciences. Dr. Steve Goldsmith, professor of biology, continues as dean of Sciences.
“Stepping in as dean of Humanities during this pandemic is daunting, but it’s also something I feel passionate about,” Kinzer said. “I think the new normal of COVID-19 has reacquainted us with just how valuable the Humanities really are to our daily life. Social distancing and quarantine have made it all the more acute how much we crave human contact and human meaning.”
The creative work of the Humanities also has been greatly missed by many during the last several months. “We crave art; we crave music; we crave theatre,” Kinzer said. “We crave all those things that make life special and meaningful. We’re watching our amazing faculty in the Humanities find new ways to bring alive history and philosophy, literature and the fine arts, because these things feed our souls and sustain us in this time of crisis. This is what the Humanities at Austin College is all about, and it is a genuine honor to serve such an outstanding faculty as dean.”
Candidates for dean come from among the tenured, full professors of the regular faculty within a division, explained Dr. Beth Gill, vice president for Academic Affairs, outlining responsibilities and roles of a dean. She said the divisional dean serves as program executive for a respective division by coordinating the departments in that division, responding to concerns of department chairs, and supervising the staff and facilities assigned to that division. Deans also coordinate searches for new faculty members and conduct all necessary reviews and evaluations of faculty, as well as make recommendations to the vice president for Academic Affairs and Faculty Review and Promotion Committee for tenure and promotion decisions. Finally, deans assist individual faculty members in support of their teaching, advising, scholarship, and other professional activity.
Having joined the Austin College faculty as assistant professor of English in 2006, Kinzer was granted tenure and promotion to associate professor in 2012 and promotion to professor in 2019. In spring 2020, he was installed as The Henry L. and Laura H. Shoap Professor of English Literature.
Starting in 2016, Kinzer played a leadership role in the development of the robust new writing curriculum and creation of the Lemuel Scarbrough Center for Writing. The writing curriculum better prepares students for the challenges of the 21st century, in which effective communication in a variety of different modes and contexts is a key to personal and career success, Kinzer said.
Under the directorship of Dr. Lisha Daniels Storey, the writing center has quickly grown into a high- demand, high-touch resource for student success at Austin College, Kinzer said. The center is staffed by trained peer writing assistants who work closely one-on-one with students to help develop exceptional writing skills. Kinzer said he feels privileged to have had the opportunity to work with such a dedicated team of students, staff, and faculty members as they build a lasting community of writers at Austin College.
Austin College, a private national liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas, has earned a reputation for excellence in academic preparation, international study, pre-professional foundations, leadership development, committed faculty, and hands-on, adventurous learning opportunities. One of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change Lives, Austin College boasts a welcoming community that embraces diversity and individuality, with more than 50 percent of students identifying as persons of color. The residential student body of approximately 1,300 students and more than 100 expert faculty members allow a 13:1 student-faculty ratio and personalized attention. Related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA), Austin College cultivates an inclusive atmosphere that supports students’ faith journeys regardless of religious tradition. The College, founded in 1849, is the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original name and charter.