Todd Shields, a 20-year political science professor at the University of Arkansas, was named dean of the school’s J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, officials announced Monday.
Shields, 45, currently serves as dean of the university’s Graduate School and International Education, and has served as interim dean of the college since Robin Roberts resigned in August. His new permanent role is effective March 24.
Fulbright College is the largest academic unit at the university. It is home to 19 departments and more than 30 academic and interdisciplinary programs as well as nine research centers. The college provides the core curriculum for all students attending the University of Arkansas.
Shields joined the UA in 1994 as an assistant professor of political science. He was promoted to associate professor in 1999 and to full professor in 2005. He also directs the Diane D. Blair Center of Southern Politics and Society and previously served as interim dean of the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock. He obtained a master’s degree and doctorate in political science from the University of Kentucky and holds two bachelor of arts degrees, one in political science and one in psychology, from Miami University.
“Coming from the perspective of a political scientist who arrived on campus nearly 20 years ago, I am honored and humbled to lead this exceptional college named for Sen. J. William Fulbright,” said Shields. “This college was my original home at the university, and I look forward to the many things we will accomplish together.”
David Gearhart, the university’s chancellor, said he was pleased to have Shields back in Fulbright College.
“He’s a proven leader and has the perfect balance of knowledge, skill and empathy to take the campus’ largest and most academically diverse college into its next phase of excellence,” said Gearhart.