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Jed Atkins named director and dean of UNC's School of Civic Life and Leadership


Jed Atkins has been named the new director and dean of the UNC School of Civic Life and Leadership.

Photo Courtesy of UNC Media Relations.

Following a national search, Jed Atkins has been named director and dean of UNC's new School of Civic Life and Leadership. He will begin the role on March 28.

Interim Chancellor Lee Roberts, Provost Christopher Clemens and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Jim White announced Atkins' appointment in a campus wide email on Friday.

“Atkins’s deep and longstanding commitment to civil discourse and civic education make him an ideal leader for the new school, which positions Carolina as a national leader in building capacities for civic life and leadership and confronting the challenges that face our state and beyond,” they said in the email.

Atkins is currently an associate professor at Duke University. He is also the faculty director of Duke’s Transformative Ideas program, as well as the Civil Discourse Project at the Kenan Institute for Ethics.

During his finalist presentation concerning his vision of the SCiLL in January, Atkins proposed operating the school as a "residential model,” similar to living-learning communities like Duke's Transformative Ideas program or the James Madison College at Michigan State University. 

Students surveyed in Duke’s program, Atkins said during the presentation, are more likely than other students to find a mentor in a faculty member, to be friends with those with different beliefs and to "have a sense of purpose."

The Friday email also thanked SCiLL interim director and dean Sarah Treul Roberts for her time in the position since the school’s launch in October, along with nine inaugural faculty.

Under Sarah Treul Roberts' leadership, the email said, the inaugural faculty began to articulate a vision for the school and designed the curriculum for the SCiLL’s new minor, which is set to launch in fall 2024.

Atkins will continue teaching at Duke for the remainder of the semester while he begins his duties at the University. 

"We are excited to have Jed Atkins at the helm of Carolina’s newest school and look forward to welcoming him to Carolina later this month," Lee Roberts, Christopher Clemens and Jim White said in the email. 

@l_rhodsie | @lucasmonc

@dailytarheel |

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Lauren Rhodes

Lauren Rhodes is the 2024 university editor at The Daily Tar Heel. She has previously served as an assistant editor and senior writer for the university desk. Lauren is a sophomore pursuing a double major in media and journalism and political science with a minor in politics, philosophy and economics.