Withers Named Associate Provost of Undergraduate Education
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 3, 2014) — Benjamin C. Withers, who has led the University of Kentucky Division of Undergraduate Education at the interim level, has been named the associate provost for undergraduate education. He officially assumed the position Feb. 1.
The announcement was made by Provost Christine Riordan at the recommendation of the search committee, led by Scott Kelley, and consisting of the following members:
- Associate Professor Ruth Beattie, Department of Biology;
- Assistant Director of Academic Initiatives Trisha Clement, Residence Life;
- Associate Professor of Early Adolescent Literacy Laurie Henry, Department of Education Curriculum and Instruction;
- Professor Robert Houtz, Department of Horticulture;
- Gatton Endowed Professor of Marketing Scott Kelley, Department of Marketing and Supply Chain;
- Associate Professor Darlene Welsh, College of Nursing; and
- Associate Provost Don Witt, Enrollment Management.
"Dr. Withers has played an essential role, both through his leadership in undergraduate education and as director of the Honors Program, in promoting academic excellence at UK," Riordan said. "He brings tremendous passion and extraordinary skill in teaching. He also brings strong experience in establishing collaborative, functional solutions for enhancing student success, a key component of Dr. Capilouto's vision for our institution."
As interim associate provost for undergraduate education, Withers oversaw the reorganization of the Division of Undergraduate Education, creating the Academy for Undergraduate Excellence, which includes the Office of Undergraduate Research, Chellgren Center, Gaines Center for the Humanities and other units emphasizing academic innovation and challenge for our undergraduate students across the university. As a faculty leader throughout UK's general education reform efforts, Withers provided, and continues to provide, expertise in developing innovations for UK Core — a program that has received national accolades for its emphasis on creativity.
Withers also led the discussions and operationalization of the new graduation writing requirements for all UK undergraduate degrees, as well as the development of the university's undergraduate certificate programs, serving as the dean for UK's first certificate program offering in global studies.
In directing the UK Honors Program, Withers oversaw the development and implementation of a new, improved curriculum, while the program broke records in terms of number of applicants and level of academic quality for the fall class of 2013.
Withers, a professor of art history, served previously as chair of the UK Department of Art (now the UK School of Art and Visual Studies in the UK College of Fine Arts), and as assistant dean of the Raclin School of the Arts at Indiana University.
A native of Harrison County, Ky., he earned his bachelor's degree from Carleton College, and his master's degree and doctorate from the University of Chicago, where he developed research interests in early medieval art. His work on illustration in Anglo-Saxon biblical texts, construction and design of illustrated books has been published by the University of Toronto Press, The Index of Christian Art, and the Medieval Institute Press as well as several leading scholarly periodicals, including the Art Bulletin, Anglo-Saxon England and the Old English Newsletter. Withers' research has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Ameritech/SBC Foundation, the Whiting Foundation and Indiana University President’s Arts and Humanities Initiative, among others.
Nationally, Withers has served as a board member on the College Board's AP Higher Education Advisory Committee, an organizing board member of the International Center for Medieval Art, as well as a member of several committees of the College Art Association.
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