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New dean coming

An ecologist from Kansas will lead the College of Arts and Sciences

An acclaimed scientist from the University of Kansas will lead the College of Arts and Sciences into a new era, starting this summer. The appointment of Joy Ward, PhD, associate dean of research and a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, concludes a national search for the successor to Cyrus Taylor, PhD. 

Taylor led the college for a dozen years before returning to the physics faculty at the end of 2018. 

“Joy’s own exceptional research achievements, coupled with her strong success in catalyzing accomplishments among others, make her the right person to lead the College of Arts and Sciences at this moment,” President Barbara C. Snyder said, upon announcing her appointment in January. 

Ward is internationally recognized for her studies of how plants are handling global climate change. In 2017, she was selected to lead scientific research in KU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. 

She’s been groomed for academic leadership. In 2014, KU named her a senior administrative fellow as part of a program to prepare campus leaders for greater opportunities. In 2015, she became a dean’s professor, the highest honor a faculty member in KU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences can receive. 

“After 16 years at KU, I recognized that it would take a very special opportunity to persuade me to leave a university that has been so good to me,” Ward said in a statement. “From my first interactions with the College of Arts and Sciences’ search committee, I quickly realized that this is a special place with people eager to contribute and excel in meaningful ways.” 

She’s scheduled to start her new job July 1.

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