Vidler named dean of the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

Headshot of Lynn Vidler

Lynn Vidler, an associate dean for the largest college at South Dakota’s flagship university, will be the next dean of the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences at UCCS. They will begin July 1, 2020. 

“I am thrilled to join the Mountain Lion family. UCCS and the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences have excellent reputations thanks to their strong faculty, staff, students, alumni and community partners,” Vidler said. “I have been especially pleased to see how everyone is working together to help students thrive during the current COVID-19 crisis. Thank you for this important public service. Although this is not an easy time, we will get through it together. I look forward to collaborating with everyone as we work to provide an affordable, accessible education to the diverse people of Colorado.” 

Vidler has been the associate dean for administration in the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of South Dakota since 2017, where they administer a significant portion of the college’s $22 million budget. They increased college grants and contracts by 37 percent to $5.9 million from 2017 to 2018 and led the college’s efforts to promote research, offering support and resources to all individuals conducting research. Vidler also managed donor relations in scholarship administration and coordination, contributed to the college’s strategic planning efforts and helped to increase the first-time full-time enrollment by 15 percent from 2017 to 2018. 

In addition, Vidler serves as USD’s faculty athletics representative. They reported to the university president on institutional control, academic integrity and student-athlete well-being for the NCAA Division I program. They are also on the editorial board for “Comedia Performance,” the journal of the Association for Hispanic Classic Theater. 

Vidler, a professor of Spanish, was previously the chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics at USD from 2014-17. They spearheaded efforts to overhaul the department’s strategic plan, program assessment, strategic communications and language lab, and coordinated fundraising that added to the department’s language scholarship. 

Vidler is also the current chair of the Human Cultures Goal Team for the Interstate Passport program with the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education. The team produces criteria that facilitate the transfer of a student’s general-education program between schools based on learning outcomes. 

Vidler spent 12 years at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point in the Department of Foreign Languages from 2002-14, ending as professor of Spanish and program director of Spanish. They also served as associate dean for the International Intellectual Development Division in spring 2014 and advised the dean on all international matters including cadet, faculty and executive travel, visitors to West Point and international cadet activities. Vidler received the Superior Civilian Service Award, the Superintendent’s Award for Excellence, the Commander’s Award for Civilian Service and twice earned the Dean’s Award for Excellence. 

“Lynn comes in with the balance of administration, research and teaching that will serve them well as the next dean for the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences,” said Provost Tom Christensen. “I know that Lynn will do great things to advance the mission and vision of the college for the future. I also want to thank Rex Welshon, who has served as dean for more than a year and has provided great leadership for the college in the interim.”

Christensen expressed gratitude to Valerie Martin Conley, dean of the College of Education, who chaired the 12-member search committee. The committee also included: 

  • Erica Allgood, senior instructor of communication and director of the Communication Center 
  • Bob Camley, distinguished professor of physics and director of the Biofrontiers Institute 
  • Lisa Durrenberger, senior instructor of biology 
  • Sam Frank, IT professional, Office of Information Technology 
  • Cerian Gibbes, associate professor of geography and environmental studies 
  • Leslie Ginsberg, professor of English 
  • Jacqui Hatfield, director for finance and operations for the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences 
  • Zuleika Johnson, assistant director of development 
  • Eric Nissen, associate director of marketing and eCommunications 
  • Ron Ruminski, professor of chemistry 
  • Kimbra Smith, chair and associate professor of anthropology 
  • Glen Whitehead, associate professor of music and college co-director of the Bachelor of Innovation 

Deborah Glynn, executive assistant to the dean of the College of Education, provided administrative support to the committee. The search firm Odgers Berndtson aided in the process. 

The College of Letters, Arts and Sciences enrolls 5,800 students among 21 departments and programs. The college offers 19 majors and 53 minors in the arts, humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. Welshon, professor of philosophy, has served as interim dean since January 2019.