“Wake Forest University has appointed Presidential Endowed Professor of Southern History Michele Gillespie as Dean of the College, with academic oversight for the undergraduate school of arts and sciences. Gillespie will begin serving as dean July 1.
Gillespie joined the Wake Forest faculty in 1999. She was named Kahle Family Professor of History in 2003 and served as associate provost for academic initiatives from 2007-2010. In 2013, Gillespie was the first Wake Forest faculty member to be honored with an endowed Presidential Chair, which recognizes and supports faculty who excel in both academic leadership and outstanding scholarship. She also serves as the faculty representative to the Advancement Committee of the Board of Trustees” (see the full news story.)
There have been many times when she has been a part of programs or events our office has planned, and those events have always been exceptional. She is recognized as one who embodies the teacher-scholar ideal, and connects well with students as well as others on campus.
Full disclosure: I have known Michele for many years and she has been a trusted friend and colleague. She helped mentor me when I was in a terrible bind professionally and did all she could to help me – even when she didn’t have to, and even though helping me didn’t benefit her in any way. That’s the kind of person she is. I will always be grateful to her for that – and for the example she set that it is always better to try and help someone if you can.
So what does this mean for your students exactly? The Dean of the College has oversight for the undergraduate arts and sciences programs (i.e., everything except business). So she will be working with the academic departments in the arts, literature, humanities, social sciences, and math and natural sciences to help make our already-great programs even better. She begins her new position on July 1st, and I know there will be many good things to come.
My kudos to the search committee, who had the unenviable job of sorting through a lot of wonderful applicants. Happily, one of Wake Forest’s own rose to the top.
Welcome to your new role, Dean-Elect Gillespie!