New Dean of the College of Arts and Letters Appointed

Todd Butler has been appointed dean of the College of Arts and Letters. Butler’s appointment is effective July 1.

Tuesday, July 9, 2024
Todd Butler
Todd Butler

Following a nationally competitive search, Todd Butler, former dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Washington State University, has been appointed dean of San Diego State University's College of Arts and Letters. Butler’s appointment is effective July 1. 

At WSU, Butler oversaw strategic planning efforts, academic and fiscal operations, hiring, tenure and promotion, and leadership and professional development initiatives for the College of Arts and Sciences. During his deanship, which began in 2021, Butler is credited with leading the college in generating more than $200 million instructional revenue, hiring more than 30 equity-oriented faculty, and increasing resources for research and public engagement. 

Butler also guided the development of new certificate programs in disciplines such as science writing, editing and publishing, and the digital humanities. Additionally, he designed the initial college strategy for WSU’s current $2 billion capital campaign, simultaneously meeting or exceeding the college’s last three development goals of between $8 and $10 million annually.  

At SDSU, Butler, an interdisciplinary scholar and academic leader, will oversee strategic, research, classroom and creativity projects and partnership initiatives in CAL, the largest of the university's academic colleges, which provides the core liberal arts courses required for all SDSU's bachelor's degrees. 

“Dr. Butler has a demonstrated commitment to efforts that drive shared governance, equity, social mobility, and publicly-engaged research – areas in which SDSU is already well-known and highly regarded,” said Interim Provost William G. Tong. “I especially appreciate that, in addition to his research and executive experience, he brings experience working with tribal nations and in support of sustainability efforts, all of which are important to us at SDSU.”  

Butler, also founding director of the university’s David G. Pollart Center for Arts and Humanities, has served as a member of the WSU’s Department of English faculty since 2003. He also served two terms as department chair and as associate dean for faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences. 

“As I step into this role, I am filled with excitement and a deep sense of responsibility to SDSU, the college, and the multiple communities it serves. Today’s world needs the insights and creativity of the liberal arts more than ever, and the faculty, staff, and students of the college are ideally positioned to meet that need in new and innovative ways,” Butler said. 

“I look forward to working within and outside the university to advance the integrative research, engaged learning, and public partnerships that will lead SDSU in being a nationally-recognized–and truly distinctive–public research university,” Butler also said. 

Butler earned both his master’s degree and Ph.D. in English literature from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. His Bachelor of Science is in European regional studies from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. The author of two books and more than 20 articles, Butler has received grants or awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Spencer Foundation, and the Folger Shakespeare Library, and has given invited lectures at internationally recognized institutions such as Tulane University, Chicago’s Newberry Library the University of Toronto, and the University of St. Andrews (Scotland).

In welcoming Butler, Tong also gave appreciation to Ronnee Schreiber, who served as interim dean of the College of Arts and Letters, and for members of the search committee, chaired by Roberto Hernández, associate professor of Chicana and Chicano Studies. 

“I thank Dr. Schreiber for lending her leadership and strategic abilities to ensure the continuity of the college’s efforts in support of our students, faculty and staff,” Tong said. “She has been an excellent leader and partner in moving the college forward, and she has our sincere appreciation.” 

In addition to Hernández, other search committee members were: Audrey Beck, associate professor of sociology; Fernando Bosco, professor and chair of the Department of Geography; Anne Donadey, professor of French and women's studies; Sureshi Jayawardene, associate professor in the Department of Africana Studies; Kimberly Kennelly, administrative coordinator of the Department of Philosophy; Pamella Lach, associate librarian and director of the Digital Humanities Center; Kristen Maher, associate professor of political science; Dan Moshavi, dean of the Fowler College of Business and professor of management; Ramona Pérez, professor of anthropology and director of the Oaxaca Center for Mesoamerican Studies; Betty Samraj, professor of linguistics and Asian/Middle Eastern languages; and SDSU students Billie Butler and Ally Gallant.

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