Dean Gutierrez announces plan to retire, interim dean to be appointed

Monday, September 20, 2021

Nancy Gutierrez, dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences since July 2005, has announced her intention to retire at the end of the 2021-22 academic year. John Smail, associate provost for undergraduate education and dean of University College, will serve a two-year appointment as interim dean of CLAS beginning July 1, 2022.

Gutierrez has served as dean for the College of Liberal Arts &Sciences (CLAS) for 16 years. She has guided the college through a period of significant growth in research and graduate education during which the college increased its funding from external sources by more than 30 percent. During her tenure, the college has more than doubled its doctoral degree offerings and nearly doubled the number of graduate students.

She led efforts to create the departments of Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies and Global Studies; organize anthropology and sociology into two departments; and form the Office of Interdisciplinary Studies, the Center for the Study of the New South and the Center for Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights Studies. She has been instrumental to the establishment of a chapter of the nation’s most prestigious honor society Phi Beta Kappa, creation of the School of Data Science in which CLAS is a partner college, and development of the LEADS interdisciplinary applied learning initiative.

In the community, Gutierrez has championed the offering of intellectual experiences, including 12 seasons of the Personally Speaking published faculty experts’ talks and has provided a college home for the Charlotte Teachers Institute, which has provided 30,000 hours of professional development to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools teachers. Gutierrez served in 2013-14 as president of the national Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences and currently is chair of the Board of Directors of North Carolina Humanities.

John SmailSmail joined the University in 1988 and went on to chair the History Department for nine years before assuming his present position. As dean of University College, he has developed and implemented student success initiatives with a particular focus on first-year programs and at-risk students and led the two-year planning process to develop the “Prospect for Success” quality enhancement plan. He was instrumental in developing student success programs and processes that led to UNC Charlotte receiving the 2019 Degree Completion Award from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) to recognize improvement in student retention and graduation rates. Currently, he is leading the general education redesign. A professor of history, Smail has continued to teach and maintain an active program of scholarship. 

“I thank Dean Gutierrez for her exceptional leadership and service as the longest serving dean at UNC Charlotte. The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences is a critical leader in UNC Charlotte’s liberal education and has made strong contributions in research, scholarly activity and student learning. The college teaches 60% of undergraduate student credit hours at UNC Charlotte. Dean Gutierrez and Dean Smail have worked collaboratively for years on student success improvements that benefit CLAS and the University at large. I am confident that this background will provide for a smooth transition,” said Joan Lorden, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs.

Read more about Gutierrez on the college’s news site.