Interdisciplinary Studies Executive Director Named College Interim Divisional Dean

Beth Whitaker, a professor of political science, is interim divisional dean for the humanities and social and behavioral sciences within the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. Whitaker began her duties March 15, 2023 and will continue in the role through June 30, 2023. She currently serves as executive director of the Office of Interdisciplinary Studies and will continue her duties in that role.

Bernadette Donovan-Merkert, director of the Nanoscale Science Doctoral Program and previously chair of the Department of Chemistry, was appointed in January 2023 as interim divisional dean for a division comprising three sciences departments and the mathematics and statistics department for the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. The three sciences are Biological Sciences, Chemistry, and Physics and Optical Science.

Working with Donovan-Merkert, Whitaker will facilitate discussions surrounding the question of a reorganization within CLAS, including the needs of faculty and departments as well as the structure, function and resource reallocation that would best serve and represent them in a new model.  

In fall 2021, the University announced it would launch a review of the structure of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. A committee led by Belk College of Business Dean Jennifer Troyer assessed opportunities for reorganization, and this effort will advance that project.