Seasoned pros take on critical posts

The University of Denver has named a new dean for the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (CAHSS) and a new vice chancellor for diversity, equity and inclusion.

Rhonda Gonzales will become the next dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences effective July 1. She currently serves as chair of the history department at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), where she also has served as interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, leading strategic initiatives and programs related to student success and persistence. Her area of research expertise is African history, specifically the history of East Africa and the Atlantic slave trade to Mexico. She recently co-authored a book with Oxford University Press titled “Bantu Africa,” and in 2017, she published a co-authored chapter on African women’s history in an edited collection with Routledge Press. Gonzales is co-author of a forthcoming book with Cambridge University Press, “Family Before Gender: History in Central and Eastern Africa, ca. 500-1900.” 

Christopher Whitt will join DU as vice chancellor for diversity, equity and inclusion on April 1. He comes to DU from Creighton University, where he served as the school’s inaugural vice provost of institutional diversity and inclusion. Before that, he was founding director of the Center for Inclusive Leadership and Equity at Augustana College, where he also served as chair of the political science department.

At Creighton, Whitt led the rollout of the school’s Truth and Racial Healing Transformation Action Plan, the cornerstone of an ambitious anti-racism plan. He also supported the school’s colleges as they constructed unified approaches to socially just teaching, service and scholarship. What’s more, Whitt sought innovative scholarship opportunities for students, including Creighton’s $1 million partnership with Union Pacific for a Diversity Scholars Program. 

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