The University of Nebraska–Lincoln has announced four finalists for the College of Arts and Sciences dean. Selected through a national search, the candidates will visit campus between Jan. 7-18.
The candidates will participate in multiple-day interviews, including public presentations and receptions. Each public presentation is at 3:30 p.m. in the Nebraska Union Auditorium.
The finalists, listed by public presentation date, are:
Jan. 7 — Christopher Boyer, professor of history and Latin American and Latino studies and chair of the history department, University of Illinois at Chicago;
Jan. 10 — Norma Bouchard, dean of College of Arts and Letters and professor of European studies, San Diego State University;
Jan. 14 — Valerio Ferme, dean of the College of Arts and Letters and professor of global languages and culture, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona; and
Jan. 17 — Mark Button, professor and chair in the department of political science, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah
Additional candidate information, including complete bios, is available on the College of Arts and Sciences dean search website.
The dean is the chief academic and administrative officer of the College of Arts and Sciences and reports directly to the executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer. The dean will work with fellow deans and campus leaders in collaboration, support and commitment to the university. The dean will also engage with a college leadership team of associate deans and department chairs and be responsible for the strategic, programmatic, financial, fundraising, and management operations that support the mission and vision of the College of Arts and Sciences and its role within the university and state.
- Interview: Jan. 7-9
- Campus presentation: 3:30 p.m., Jan. 7, Nebraska Union Auditorium
Boyer is a professor of history and Latin American and Latino studies and chair of the history department at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Over the past five years, he has led his department to update its curriculum and respond more creatively to student needs at the graduate and undergraduate level. His teaching and scholarship concentrate on the social and environmental history of Modern Mexico, and he has published widely in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. His most recent book, “Political Landscapes: Forests, Conservation, and Community in Mexico” investigates the social history of forest management in between 1880 and 2000, with special emphasis on the experiences of native peoples in the states of Chihuahua and Michoacán, and has received multiple awards. He has published a volume of environmental histories of modern Mexico, as well as an earlier book on peasant movements in post-revolutionary Mexico. He serves on the board of directors of the American Historical Association as well as on the board of editors of The Americas, among other scholarly and service organizations. Boyer holds a Bachelor of Arts in comparative literature from Dartmouth College and a Master of Arts in political science from the University of Pittsburgh. His doctorate in history is from the University of Chicago.
- Interview: Jan. 9-11
- Campus presentation: 3:30 p.m., Jan. 10, Nebraska Union Auditorium
Bouchard is dean of College of Arts and Letters and professor of European studies at San Diego State University. During her time in this role, she has created a college advising center and office of international programs coordinator. She also established a dean’s support fund that prioritizes funding for interdisciplinary scholarly initiatives, and launched a faculty grant writing program. Bouchard has been instrumental in increasing student continuation rates and six-year graduation rates, as well as decreasing drop/withdraw/fail rates to a five year low. Prior to her position at San Diego, she was interim associate dean for humanities and regional campuses in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Connecticut. Bouchard earned her Laurea in French literature with German as a second area from the University of Turin and her Master of Arts in Italian literature from Indiana University. Her doctorate in comparative literature is also from Indiana University.
- Interview: Jan. 14-16
- Campus presentation: 3:30 p.m., Jan. 14, Nebraska Union Auditorium
Valerio Ferme will interview Jan. 14-16. Ferme is dean of the College of Arts and Letters and professor of global languages and culture at Northern Arizona University where he challenges departments and schools to make experiential learning and community engagement a mainstay of students’ learning experience. In this role, he has helped increase the research productivity of the faculty and increase the average annual donations to his college. Prior to this, he was professor of Italian and comparative literature at the University of Colorado, where he was elected as chair of his department three times before taking on the role of divisional dean for arts and humanities. At Colorado, he received the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Community Engagement Special Award for his work on behalf of staff, diversity hires and indigenous initiatives. He has published three scholarly books, a bilingual collection of poetry, and more than 50 articles and reviews. He is president of the American Association of Italian Studies. Ferme holds a Bachelor of Arts in biology and religious studies from Brown University and a Master of Arts in both Italian and comparative literature from Indiana University. He was the recipient of Fulbright and Chancellor’s fellowships at the University of California, Berkeley where he earned his doctorate in comparative literature.
- Interview: Jan. 16-18
- Campus presentation: 3:30 p.m., Jan. 17, Nebraska Union Auditorium
Mark Button will interview Jan. 16-18. Button is currently a professor and chair in the department of political science at the University of Utah. He has recruited and retained award-winning faculty across all ranks, spurred new research and academic collaborations in many of the colleges, and expanded the undergraduate curriculum and majors. He has also increased the diversity of students and faculty, established new scholarships and increased graduate student funding, and created a successful campus-community public dialogue series. Button has written two scholarly books and numerous articles that focus on political ethics, deliberative democracy, and the history of moral and political thought. He is a first-generation college student and holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science with a minor in peace studies from the University of Oregon. His doctorate in political science is from Rutgers University.