As of February 1, 2014, Dr. Benjamin C. Withers will move from interim into the permanent position of Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education. The Provost was guided in her choice for this post by a search committee chaired by Dr. Scott Kelley, College of Business & Engineering. The search committee included:
- Ruth Beattie, Department of Biology
- Trisha Clement, Residence Life
- Laurie Henry, Department of Education Curriculum and Instruction
- Robert Houtz, Department of Horticulture
- Scott Kelley, Department of Marketing and Supply Chain (Chair)
- Darlene Welsh, College of Nursing
- Don Witt, Enrollment Management
As professor of Art History, Dr. Withers has served as faculty leader throughout the University’s General Education Reform efforts and continues to develop new strategies and innovations for the UK Core Program. As director of the Honors Program, he led the development and implementation of a new curriculum that extends across the University with the new H-prefix courses. For the fall 2013 class, the Honors Program broke several records in the University’s long history with Honors, both in terms of the number of applicants and the level of academic quality of its new cohort.
As the interim APUE, Dr. Withers led the discussions and operationalization of the new graduation writing requirements for all UK undergraduate degrees: GCCR. He championed the University’s first dual credit course – a University-wide course, UK110, Orientation to the University of Kentucky and College Readiness Skills – in partnership with the College of Education and Student Affairs (more details at a previous BluegrassBlade post). He serves as the Dean for the University’s first undergraduate certificate program: “Global Studies.” He has taken on the leadership for the SACS-COC QEP project, PresentationU as well as the Retention/Student Success workgroups. Currently, Dr. Withers is leading the discussions and planning for a University-wide Testing Center, the statewide foreign language proficiency requirements, and the state-mandated requirements for college readiness.
Dr. Withers served previously as chair of the UK Department of Art (now the School of Art and Visual Studies). He came to UK in 2004 from the Raclin School of the Arts at Indiana University where he served on the faculty and as assistant dean. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Carleton College, and a master’s degree and doctorate from University of Chicago. He studied under Michael Camille at Chicago, where he developed research interests in early medieval art, with a particular focus on Anglo-Saxon manuscripts. His work on the illustration of biblical texts, the construction and design of illustrated books and, more recently, issues of gender and monastic identity in the early Middle Ages has appeared in several leading scholarly periodicals, including the Art Bulletin, Anglo-Saxon England, and the Old English Newsletter. He has co-edited two volumes of essays, one devoted to the Old English Hexateuch (co-edited with Rebecca Barnhouse, Kalamazoo, 2000) and the other an examination of the attitudes toward gender and the human body in Anglo-Saxon England (Naked Before God, co-edited with Jonathan Wilcox, West Virginia, 2003). He is currently completing a monographic study, The Illustrated Old English Hexateuch, Cotton Ms. Claudius B.iv: The Frontier of Seeing and Reading in Anglo-Saxon England. His 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. His scholarly leadership currently also includes national service on the College Board’s AP Higher Education Advisory Committee and the Board of the International Center for Medieval Art.
The Division of Undergraduate Education congratulates Dr. Withers on his promotion!