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After a nine-month search, TCU found the new dean of the AddRan College of Liberal Arts less than 20 miles from campus.

Dr. Sonja Stephenson Watson, the associate dean of Academic Affairs for the College of Liberal Arts and associate professor of Spanish at the University of Texas at Arlington, is expected to begin her new role in the summer.

Dr. Watson’s new headshot. Photo courtesy TCU.

“I believe her leadership and proven ability to collaborate across many schools and advance programs will be an asset to the university and strengthen us as we work together to achieve our Vision in Action: Lead On strategic goals,” Dr. Teresa Abi-Nader Dahlberg, the provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, said in a statement to the university.

Watson will replace Dr. Andrew Schoolmaster, who will retire after more than 12 years as dean.

“As we turn over a new leaf, we’re excited about the future and the opportunities that lie ahead to grow and strengthen the college’s position as the beating heart of TCU,” Dr. Kara Dixon Vuic, the chair of the search committee, said. “AddRan has led the way on new initiatives and has helped to chart a path forward.”

Read Here: AddRan dean focuses on providing ‘top-notch’ education this semester

As dean, Watson will work on promoting diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) on campus, strengthen AddRan’s reputation and promote the “teacher-scholar model.”

AddRan is the largest college on campus with about 1,400 students, 200 faculty members, 11 disciplines and 38 languages.

Watson is recognized as a leader promoting diversity and inclusion at UTA and enhanced the outreach of the women’s and gender studies program.

“I am extremely excited to serve as the next dean of the AddRan College of Liberal Arts,” Watson said in a statement to the university. “AddRan has a strong academic history and reputation, which is commensurate with its stellar faculty, students, and alumni. I am eager to begin advancing the school’s mission by articulating the value of the liberal arts, enhancing diversity, equity and inclusion, and bolstering AddRan’s academic profile.”

As the associate dean at UTA, Watson developed transfer pathways for community college students and veterans.

Watson will begin her new role at TCU after the conclusion of the spring semester — May 29.