OCTOBER 28, 2022 — Sean Kelly announced today he is stepping down as dean of the UTSA Honors College, effective January 1, 2023, to join the dean’s leadership team in the College of Liberal and Fine Arts.
In COLFA, Kelly will oversee the leadership, planning and development of a new interdisciplinary school to bring both visibility and value to existing interdisciplinary efforts centered in humanities in the college and facilitate future interdisciplinary endeavors.
“I am so grateful to Sean Kelly for his ongoing leadership and service to the university, and especially grateful that he will continue to devote his time and talents for the benefit of UTSA students in this new role,” said UTSA Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Kimberly Andrews Espy. “Without question, Dr. Kelly has transformed the UTSA Honors College into one of the most innovative and experiential in the nation, and I am excited for him to work with Dean Glenn Martínez to further drive innovation in COLFA, leading the formation and implementation of a new interdisciplinary school.”
Like the new School of Art and School of Music, the proposed interdisciplinary school is an outcome of the Tactical Visioning exercise to remake COLFA by bolstering social science research, recommitting to arts education and reimagining the humanities.
Earlier this year, Martínez established a task force to clearly articulate the benefits of an interdisciplinary school, identify existing and new programs to be housed in the school and establish protocols for collaboration across the college and university. The new school is expected to launch in fall 2023.
In 2020, while serving as interim dean of COLFA, Kelly initiated the visioning process to identify the college’s greatest strengths and opportunities among its nine academic departments, following the launch of the College for Health, Community and Policy.
“Our college faculty and staff are enthusiastic about the interdisciplinary school. With his experience and insight, Sean Kelly is ideally suited to advance interdisciplinary programming, research and scholarship within the college and promote additional classroom-to-career opportunities for our students,” Martínez said.
Kelly has served as dean of the Honors College since 2016. The college is open to students from all academic disciplines and currently has 1,700 students. In recent years, dozens of UTSA Honors College students have been recognized with nationally competitive awards, including Fulbright Student Program grants, Gilman International Scholarships and National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowships. A record four UTSA students were named Barry Goldwater Scholars for undergraduate research excellence in 2021.
As dean of the Honors College, Kelly has led the transformation of the college’s curriculum to create The Honors Experience, which is focused on research, study abroad and service-learning opportunities to prepare students for their future careers. Under his leadership, the college revised admission criteria and increased scholarship opportunities to diversify and expand honors education and programs, resulting in a more than 75% increase in enrollment.
Among numerous accomplishments, Kelly introduced the college’s Experiential Learning Fair for students to share their out-of-classroom experiences with the campus community. He also introduced the college’s Citymester program, which partners with businesses, nonprofits and other organizations to create internships, service-learning projects, and networking opportunities for UTSA students.
In 2020, Kelly oversaw the establishment of the Honors Residential College, a comprehensive living-learning community for all first-year Honors College students. This year about 350 new Honors College students are living at Guadalupe Hall as part of the Honors Residential College. Under his tenure, the college also moved to the Graduate Studies and Research Building to position administrative support offices in closer proximity to on-campus housing, and to create a multifunctional, collaborative space for students, including the Experiential Learning Lab.
“I’m tremendously proud of the collective work of our students, staff and faculty to create an Honors College that is focused on developing experienced, thoughtful and engaged leaders,” Kelly said. “While shifting my focus away from the Honors College is bittersweet, I am energized to rejoin the COLFA Visioning Process and continue the critically important work to implement a new shared vision for the university’s most academically diverse college by launching and leading the planned interdisciplinary school centered in the humanities.”
Jill Fleuriet, professor of anthropology and associate dean of the Honors College, will serve as interim dean while a national search for new college leadership is conducted. A search advisory committee and search firm will be announced later this semester.
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