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UNC announces five candidates for dean of College of Arts and Sciences

In November 2014, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Karen Gil announced she would be leaving her post to return to teaching psychology.

The University, in response to this news, created a search committee to find Gil’s replacement.

Despite Gil originally announcing her intention to step down in May of this year, it was announced two weeks ago that she would stay on until January to give the committee more time.

In a campuswide email Wednesday, UNC released the names of the five finalists.

William Easterling

Easterling has served as the dean of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences at Penn State University since 2007, according to UNC’s release.

Easterling, it is noted, is an internationally known climate change expert, with a focus on how the planet’s food supply has been affected.

His open forum is Sept. 9 at 11 a.m. in Gerrard Hall.

Keith Whitfield

Whitfield’s biggest challenge may be overcoming his current school: Since 2011, the College of Santa Fe alumnus has been the vice provost for academic affairs at Duke University.

Whitfield, according to the release, spent more than a decade at Penn State before coming to Duke in 2006. His open forum is Sept. 11 at 11 a.m. in Gerrard Hall.  

Kevin Guskiewicz

The only internal candidate, Guskiewicz is the senior associate dean for the natural sciences.

It was revealed this year that he requested admittance of two unqualified UNC athletes into the Exercise and Sport Science graduate program at the request of the athletic department in 2003 and 2010. His open forum is Sept. 17 at 11 a.m. in the Johnston Center.

Kim Barrett

Barrett, a University College London alumna, has been the dean of graduate studies at the University of California, San Deigo.

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Her research interests are, according to UNC’s release, in intestinal health. She has written almost 200 peer-reviewed journal articles. Her open forum will be Sept. 29 at 11 a.m. in the Toy Lounge in Dey Hall.

Laurie Maffly-Kipp


Maffly-Kipp is certainly familiar with Chapel Hill; she taught at UNC for 24 years in the religious studies and American studies departments.

She served as chairwoman of the religious studies department from 2008 until 2013, when she left to teach at Washington University in St. Louis. Her open forum is Oct. 8 at 11 a.m. in Gerrard Hall.