Dean Gutierrez To Retire In June, Leaving Legacy Of Commitment to Knowledge

When Nancy Gutierrez retires as dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences (CLAS) at the end of the 2021-22 academic year, she leaves a legacy defined by a commitment to helping students develop a curiosity about the world and the knowledge and skills to pursue lives of purpose, and a dedication to facilitating faculty research and scholarship for what it discovers about the world around us. 

“I did not come to my decision to retire quickly, as I am deeply committed to CLAS and the University,” Gutierrez said. “One of the most satisfying aspects of being the CLAS dean has been working in an exceptional college with a vibrant, collaborative character and creative energy. Serving as only the third dean in the life of this college has allowed me to help shape the college and the university, in what has been an extraordinary opportunity. I am deeply grateful for all those who have joined me in service to our students, our home community, and the broader world.”

Gutierrez has been a champion for diversity, equity and inclusion and has been a national leader in advancing the role of the liberal arts and sciences in undergraduate and graduate education, said Joan Lorden, provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs.

“I thank Dean Gutierrez for her exceptional leadership and service as the longest serving dean at UNC Charlotte,” Lorden said. “The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences is a critical leader in UNC Charlotte’s liberal education and has made strong contributions in research, scholarly activity and student learning.”

During her 16 years as dean, Gutierrez has guided the college through a period of significant growth in research and graduate education during which the college increased its funding from external sources by more than 30 percent. The college has more than doubled its doctoral degree offerings and nearly doubled the number of graduate students.

She led efforts to create the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies and Department of Global Studies; organize Anthropology and Sociology into two departments; and form the Office of Interdisciplinary Studies, the Center for the Study of the New South, and the Center for Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights Studies. She has been instrumental to the establishment at the University of a chapter of the nation’s most prestigious honor society Phi Beta Kappa, which was awarded this year, and the creation of the School of Data Science in which CLAS is a partner college.

She also championed development of the LEADS interdisciplinary applied learning initiative which affords students from all college units the opportunity to fully develop their potential as creative problem solvers, innovative leaders, and engaged citizens.

In the community, Gutierrez has encouraged the offering of intellectual experiences, including 12 seasons of the Personally Speaking published faculty experts’ talks, and has provided a college home for the Charlotte Teachers Institute, which has provided 30,000 hours of professional development to over 800 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools teachers.

Gutierrez served in 2013-14 as president of the national Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences, a national association of over 500 baccalaureate degree-granting colleges of arts and sciences, and currently is chair of the Board of Directors of North Carolina Humanities. She is a past member of the Board of Directors of the Arts & Science Council (Charlotte), Charlotte Museum of History, the Women + Girls Research Alliance, and the Socrates Academy. 

Prior to joining UNC Charlotte, she served as Vice Provost for Academic Affairs at Arizona State University, where she was a professor of English.  Also at ASU, she served as chair of the Department of English and as Associate Dean for Academic Personnel. She received a bachelor of arts degree in English from Denison University, and master’s and doctoral degrees in English Literature from the University of Chicago. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious honor society.

A scholar of early modern English literature, Gutierrez has published on Shakespearean drama and early modern women. She served as President of the Rocky Mountain Medieval and Renaissance Association and as Treasurer for the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women.