University of Florida | Courtesy Credit: University of Florida | Courtesy

The search for a new dean for the College of Liberal Arts (CLA) is over.

Philip J. Williams was named the new CLA Dean, Provost and Executive Vice President Kathleen Enz Finken announced today.

Williams previously served as a political science professor as well as director of the Center of Latin American Studies at the University of Florida.

I’m honored to be named the next Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at @CalPoly! I’ll miss my colleagues at @LatamUF but am looking forward to the opportunity to work with the incredibly talented faculty, staff, and students at @CalPolyCLA! #LearnByDoing @CPPrezArmstrong

— Philip Williams (@pjwilliams59) February 19, 2019

“Cal Poly is excited to welcome Dr. Williams as the new leader of our College of Liberal Arts,” Enz Finken said in a news release. “Philip brings a deep appreciation for Learn by Doing and the important role the liberal arts play in preparing students for success, along with a strong track record of diversity- and inclusion-focused education and research.”

Williams began his career in 1987 as an assistant professor of political science at Truman State University in Missouri. He later became a professor of political science at the University of Florida, where he served as the department’s chair from 2004 to 2007.

During his time at the University of Florida, Williams spearheaded efforts to promote diversity and inclusion as the director of the Center for Latin American Studies. According to the news release, the center aims to increase academic engagement, research and international educational opportunities in Latin America and the Caribbean. In his role, Williams advocated for the support of undocumented students.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to lead the college and eager to get to work expanding our cross-disciplinary efforts; enhancing hands-on learning and international opportunities; and attracting more faculty with diverse experiences to help prepare our students for success in the increasingly global and intercultural workforce,” Williams said in the news release.

We are #CalPolyProud to announce the new dean of our College of Liberal Arts, Dr. Philip J. Williams. Dr. Williams is the professor of political science and director of the Center for Latin American Studies at @UF. @CalPolyCLA @pjwilliams59

— Jeffrey D. Armstrong (@CPPrezArmstrong) February 19, 2019

Williams visited Cal Poly Jan. 14 through Jan. 18 to participate in open forums. Mitchell P. Smith of the University of Oklahoma was also considered for the position.

Williams succeeds Interim Dean Kathryn Rummell, who has fulfilled the dean’s responsibilities since August 2018. Former CLA Dean Doug Epperson retired at the end of the 2017-2018 school year after holding the position for six years.

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