Campus News

'Behind the Blue': Dean Ana Franco-Watkins discusses UK’s College of Arts and Sciences

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 23, 2023) — The College of Arts and Sciences is the oldest and largest college at the University of Kentucky, at the heart of the university’s mission to educate students and create knowledge in the humanities, social sciences, and mathematical and natural sciences.

Home to 19 academic departments that offer major degrees in 29 disciplines and 37 minors, the College of Arts and Sciences provides education in fundamentals to nearly every undergraduate student at UK and builds foundations for advanced study in every field. Central to undergraduate and graduate education at UK, the College of Arts and Sciences accounts for teaching 85% of general education credit hours and almost half of all undergraduate credit hours, and produces the most doctoral degrees at UK.

On July 1, 2022, Ana Franco-Watkins, Ph.D., became the new dean of the college, coming to UK from her post as interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Auburn University. A first-generation student originally from the Portuguese islands, the Azores, Franco-Watkins holds a doctorate from the University of Maryland, a master’s degree from The College of William and Mary and a bachelor’s degree from St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

On this episode of "Behind the Blue," Franco-Watkins discusses adjusting to her new role as dean of the college, how being a first-generation student with a background in psychology informs her approach to working with members of the university community, her hopes for the future of the college, and more.

"Behind the Blue" is available on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher and Spotify. Become a subscriber to receive new episodes of “Behind the Blue” each week. UK’s latest medical breakthroughs, research, artists and writers will be featured, along with the most important news impacting the university.

For questions or comments about this or any other episode of "Behind the Blue," email or tweet your question with #BehindTheBlue. Transcripts for this or other episodes of "Behind the Blue" can be downloaded from the show’s blog page.

To discover what’s wildly possible at the University of Kentucky, click here.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.