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Charles Wilson Selected as Dean of College of Arts and Letters

Charles Wilson was named this morning as dean of the College of Arts and Letters at Old Dominion.

Provost Carol Simpson announced the appointment in an email to the university community, after notifying faculty and staff in the college.

Wilson, who has served as interim dean of the college since August 2010, was selected following an extensive national search with the assistance of Academic Search Inc. His appointment as dean will be effective Dec. 25. Arts and Letters is the largest academic college in the university, with more than190 faculty members and approximately 5,000 majors.

In her letter to the campus community, Simpson said Wilson "has held the reins very capably" since taking over in an interim capacity.

"Professor Wilson has articulated a vision for the College of Arts and Letters that stresses faculty pre-eminence in scholarship and creativity alongside continued excellence in teaching," Simpson said. "He places a strong emphasis on enhancing ODU's relationships with the cities of Hampton Roads through engaging service-learning activities for our students and meaningful social science research. He is an ardent supporter and advocate for the many superb performances, exhibits and lectures that the College of Arts and Letters offers, bringing the very best in creative and performing arts and philosophical exchange of ideas to the citizens of our region."

Wilson was selected from among a pool of more than 60 applicants, and Simpson thanked the members of the search committee for their time and dedication. The committee was led by Oktay Baysal, dean of the Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology, and staffed by Judy Bowman from Academic Affairs.

"In addition, we received substantial individual input from many faculty in the College of Arts and Letters and from members of the external Hampton Roads community, all of which was extremely valuable in making the final decision," Simpson said.

Wilson, a former chair of the English department who holds the title of University Professor, was appointed vice provost for undergraduate studies in 2008, after serving as interim vice provost and as dean of the University College since 2006.

A member of the ODU faculty since 1991, Wilson was an American Council of Education Fellow during the 2005-06 academic year. Known for his passion in the classroom, he was named a State Council of Higher Education for Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award winner in 2004 and has received ODU's A. Rufus Tonelson Faculty Award and the Robert L. Stern Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Wilson is an expert in African American and Southern literatures. His research interests include black manhood, race, class and gender in Southern fiction, and the intersection of past and present in the South. He is the recipient of two National Endowment for the Humanities grants, including one for a summer institute at Harvard University.

Wilson received a bachelor's degree in English from West Georgia College, a master's from North Carolina State University and a doctorate from the University of Georgia.

This article was posted on: December 1, 2011

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