New College of Liberal Arts dean Ann Huff Stevens to assume role this July

Hannah Ortega

The College of Liberal Arts has named Ann Huff Stevens as its new dean, effective this July.

Stevens worked at the University of California, Davis for about 16 years as an economics professor and the deputy director of the school’s Center for Poverty Research. The center helped spark Stevens’ initial fascination with leadership positions and allowed her to work with people involved in a variety of fields, including engineering and law, she said. Stevens also identified a goal she hopes to achieve at UT based on her time at the Center and UC Davis: combining teaching, learning and research.

“What I’ve really learned and what I’m committed to is how powerful learning and teaching can be in a research university,” Stevens said. “Sometimes we can take it for granted that teaching and learning and research are all going on together. I run a center that really looks for ways to combine research and teaching, and I see a lot of that interest at UT, as well, so I’m really excited to do that.”

Stevens will follow in the footsteps of Randy Diehl, who was named dean in 2007. Stevens was chosen as Diehl’s successor for her regard for students and experience, said Maurie McInnis, the University’s provost and executive vice president.

“Ann’s career as a leading economist who has built broad interdisciplinary teams, combined with her varied positions in academic leadership, make her an ideal dean,” McInnis said in a Jan. 9 news release. “She also cares deeply about developing the next generation of thought leaders and supporting all students as they pursue their goals.”

English professor Phillip Barrish said in an email that he “look(s) forward to getting to know Dr. Stevens better.” 

Stevens said she hopes to give liberal arts faculty members more attention, as well as provide improved career resources to students. 

“One thing that got me really fascinated with this opportunity … (was) the commitment from the president and the provost to really make sure we’re doing what we can for career opportunities for undergraduate students,” Stevens said. “I’ve heard a lot of interest within the College of Liberal Arts for strengthening the career outreach and services that we provide to students, and I think that really is what can make a liberal arts education even more powerful.”