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The following message from Provost DiPaola was sent to all of campus on Thursday, May 19, 2022. 

Dear Colleagues,

I am excited to announce that Ana M. Franco-Watkins has accepted our offer to become dean of the UK College of Arts and Sciences. Pending Board of Trustees approval, she will join the UK family on July 1, 2022.

Dr. Franco-Watkins currently serves as interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Auburn University where she has an impressive background as an educator, researcher and leader. Her vision for the College of Arts and Sciences aligns with the aspirational goals of our strategic plan and of our mission to advance Kentucky.

Dr. Franco-Watkins has served as interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Auburn University since 2021. In this role, she has helped develop a shared, strategic vision for the college, oversaw a restructure and realignment of student services, expanded initiatives for inclusive excellence and successfully stewarded the college’s $68 million budget.

Before serving as interim dean, Dr. Franco-Watkins was chair of the department of psychological sciences for four years. She also served as graduate director of Industrial and Organizational Psychology and undergraduate director of the Department of Psychological Sciences.

She was a first-generation student and 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.

We are thrilled to welcome her to our institution. 

I want to also thank Christian Brady for his strong leadership of the College of Arts and Sciences during his tenure as interim dean. He has truly been a partner as we worked on this search process and transition.

I also extend my deep gratitude to search committee chairs Jay Miller and Carrie Oser for their service and their commitment to finding the best possible individual for this role. All members of the search committee devoted considerable time and effort throughout this successful process. Finally, I want to really thank all the faculty, staff and students for partnering with us this year as we worked together through this search process.

Please join me in welcoming Dr. Franco-Watkins to our community. We look forward to a bright future for the College of Arts and Sciences.


Robert S. DiPaola, M.D.