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The Daily Tar Heel

Kevin Guskiewicz named dean of the College of Arts and Sciences

Kevin Guskiewicz, new dean of the College of Arts and Sciences

Kevin Guskiewicz, new dean of the College of Arts and Sciences

Guskiewicz, the senior associate dean for natural sciences and a distinguished professor in the Department of Exercise and Sport Science, was the only internal candidate out of the five finalists.

Student Body President Houston Summers, who sat on the search committee, said Guskiewicz’s connections at UNC will be an advantage.

“He can hit the ground running,” Summers said. “He knows individuals, and he’s already established relationships.”

Chancellor Carol Folt said in the press release that Guskiewicz was a natural fit for the job.

“An extremely accomplished teacher and researcher renowned for his expertise in injury prevention, Kevin represents the very best of Carolina,” she said in the release.

Guskiewicz will take over for current dean Karen Gil, who announced she would step down from the position last November. Gil originally planned to step down in May, but later said she would stay on until January 2016 to give the search committee enough time to find her replacement.

Gil will return to teaching in the psychology department.

Guskiewicz will assume the position on Jan. 1, according to the release.

“I am excited to lead the College of Arts and Sciences at the University I have grown to love over the past 20 years,” he said in the release.

Guskiewicz, who is internationally known for his research on concussions, has been linked to UNC’s ongoing academic-athletic scandal.

In March, emails revealed that Guskiewicz, in his role of graduate studies director for the Department of Exercise and Sport Science, pushed for a former UNC football player to be admitted to his department’s graduate program on the behalf of a request from the athletic department.

Michael Waddell, the former football player, was admitted to the graduate program in fall 2003, but he failed many of his classes and was expelled after the football season ended.

“Four months later, we now look foolish,” Guskiewicz wrote in 2004 to former athletic department official John Blanchard, who made the request to get Waddell into the graduate program.

Guskiewicz told The Daily Tar Heel in the spring that he has no issues with how the graduate program’s admissions were conducted.

“I am highly confident that our department’s admissions committee has always carefully considered every admissions case before making a recommendation to the Graduate School,” he said in his statement, which was given to The Daily Tar Heel through Rick White, a UNC spokesperson.

Summers said the search committee did discuss these events, but they didn’t affect his candidacy because the committee decided Guskiewicz wasn’t directly involved.

“He acted with the utmost integrity throughout that entire process,” Summers said.

Summers praised Guskiewicz’s ethics and said his experience with UNC’s athletic-academic scandal and the resulting reforms might help him in his new position.

“I think he would be willing and dedicated to making sure that that’s a waterproof system,” Summers said.

“It is light years beyond where it once was, and I am really, really excited about Kevin being able to step in and take over in that regard, given his background and knowledge of what is being called the athletic-academic scandal.”

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