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UWG establishes two new colleges, names interim deans

by Colton Campbell

The University of West Georgia remains laser-focused on aligning the needs of industry with the educational experiences students have both in and out of the classroom.

To strengthen those connections and enhance service and support for student success in their respective areas, UWG will launch two new colleges on July 1, 2024: the College of Mathematics, Computing, and Sciences and the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences.

The new colleges will be comprised of programs currently housed in the College of Arts, Culture, and Scientific Inquiry, which has seen growth over the past several years, including the creation of new degree programs and the enhancement of existing, longstanding degrees.

“I am excited to see the growth and excellence that the College of Arts, Culture, and Scientific Inquiry has achieved will continue in these two new colleges,” said Dr. Jon Preston, UWG’s provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “The academic programs that these colleges contain are well-positioned to serve students and the region by connecting them to high-demand careers and cutting-edge scholarship.”

Working groups of UWG faculty and staff were formed in Fall 2023 to discuss and make recommendations to UWG’s senior leadership on the opportunity to structure CACSI into two new colleges, and numerous listening sessions were conducted among key constituent groups, including industry leaders and UWG’s Faculty Senate and Staff Advisory Council.

The College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences will contain three schools: the School of Visual and Performing Arts, the School of Humanities and the School of Social Sciences. The College of Mathematics, Computing, and Sciences will contain two schools: the School of Computing, Analytics, and Modeling and the School of Field Investigations and Experimental Sciences.

Two seasoned academic leaders have been appointed to serve as interim deans of the new colleges, effective July 1. UWG alumnus and longtime leader Clint Samples ’96 will serve as interim dean of the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, and Dr. Renee Butler, joining UWG from her current position at Kennesaw State University, will serve as interim dean of the College of Mathematics, Computing, and Sciences.

Samples earned two degrees from UWG in 1996, later receiving a Master of Fine Arts from Florida State University. He began serving his alma mater in 1999 as an adjunct instructor and has since held positions including professor of art, interim department chair and, most recently, associate dean.

“I am deeply honored to lead the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, and I look forward to serving our exceptional faculty, staff and students as interim dean,” Samples said. “Our programs have had a positive impact on our institution and the communities we serve for many years, and I am excited to be a part of that continued growth. As an alumnus, my education at UWG shaped my life in numerous ways and provided opportunities from which I continue to benefit, and I am grateful to give back to the institution that has had such a profound influence on me.”

Butler currently serves as senior associate dean of the Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering and Engineering Technology at KSU and has been named the Engineer of the Year in Education by the Georgia Society of Professional Engineers. A three-time alumna of the Georgia Institute of Technology, Butler also has extensive experience outside of academia, having worked for M&M, Mars Inc. and The Torrington Company.

“I am thrilled to take this next step in my leadership journey and join the University of West Georgia, where positioning students for success is at the core of everything we do,” Butler said. “UWG’s faculty and staff are expertly positioned to embrace all of the opportunities that the new college will provide to ensure it is set on the right path. That will require forging partnerships with our alumni, community and industry leaders to help solve the complex challenges in these rapidly growing disciplines, and I am eager to get started.”

Preston expressed his appreciation for Samples and Butler for their forthcoming service as interim deans, saying that the colleges they will lead will focus on delivering exceptional learning experiences for students while supporting their faculty and staff.

“Clint has had a tremendous impact on UWG for years and has a deep commitment to student, faculty, and staff success. He brings an inspiring level of innovation, and I look forward to all that he will contribute,” Preston said. “Additionally, Dr. Butler is a creative leader who has built and grown programs, expanded support for scholarship and funding, and understands the needs of the region.”

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