Professional News

UK College of Education acting dean announced

Danelle Stevens-Watkins

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 4, 2023) —University of Kentucky Provost Robert S. DiPaola named Danelle Stevens-Watkins, Ph.D., acting dean of the College of Education, effective Jan. 4, 2023. Stevens-Watkins is a professor in the Department of Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology, as well as the university's associate vice president for research, diversity and inclusion.

“I am honored to serve the College of Education and the university in this capacity,” Stevens-Watkins said. “I am a proud UK College of Education alum. Our faculty, staff and students are leaders in impacting positive change across the Commonwealth of Kentucky and beyond. As a native Kentuckian, I take pride in this historic moment.”  

Stevens-Watkins is the first woman of color to serve in this role for the College of Education, marking a historic moment for the college and university. 

“I greatly appreciate Dr. Stevens-Watkins’ willingness to serve,” DiPaola said. “Her commitment to the college, across all aspects, is evident in her willingness to step into this role. I look forward to seeing what she accomplishes alongside our talented faculty to advance the mission of the college and this university.”  

Stevens-Watkins is a licensed health service psychologist and clinical scientist. Her research is focused broadly on improving health outcomes for Black Americans. Notably, to date, she has secured over $8 million in grants and contract funding as principal investigator (PI). Her research has earned funding from the National Institute of Health (NIH) for over the past decade.   

In her role as the associate vice president for research for diversity and inclusion, Stevens-Watkins has led the UNITE (UNited In True racial Equity) research priority area since its inception in August 2020. UNITE is a $10 million investment over five years focused on growing racial equity research at UK and the recruitment and retention of diverse faculty and students at UK.  

Notably, she is the 2022 Kentucky Psychological Association Researcher of the Year, she has earned the Teacher Who Made a Difference Award multiple times at UK, the UK Clinical and Translational Sciences Mentor Recognition Award and the Kentucky Psychological Association Mentor of the Year award. 

Prior to her faculty appointment at the college first in 2008 and again in 2013, Stevens-Watkins worked for the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Our Lady of Peace psychiatric hospital, residential drug treatment facilities and state and federal prisons. She completed a Ph.D. and EdS in counseling psychology from the University of Kentucky, and a master's degree in clinical psychology from Spalding University, along with a bachelor's degree in psychology from University of Louisville. 

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 $501 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.