Published: July 11, 2017

Steven Leigh

Steven R. Leigh

Steven R. Leigh, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences (A&S), has completed his five-year appointment in that role and will soon join the anthropology faculty. Meanwhile, Provost Russell Moore announced today that James White, currently the director of CU Boulder’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR), will serve as the new dean.

“Steve has guided the College of Arts and Sciences through a very exciting time, and I appreciate his leadership on many key projects that elevated the standing of the college,” Moore said. “Some of those highlights include shepherding a new core curriculum, engaging in significant faculty hiring, increasing focus on students success and addressing issues of climate within the college.”

A biological anthropologist, Leigh has spent a significant amount of his career conducting research. He has focused on both human and primate evolution and integrated many different kinds of data across the discipline of anthropology, including information from genetics, anatomy, archaeology and socio-cultural anthropology.

“My time as dean here has been a remarkable professional experience,” Leigh said. “Following completion of my term as dean, I will return to the faculty. I am able to pursue some significant new research opportunities and will be able to increase my interactions with students. I hope to stay involved in collegewide initiatives.”

James White

James White

White’s official duties as dean will begin on Aug. 16, Moore said.

“It was crucial that we found a strong leader to carry on the momentum for the college,” Moore said. “And I’m grateful that Jim has agreed to step in as dean. Jim is a nationally known and well-respected climate and geological scientist who has provided excellent leadership to INSTAAR, CU Boulder’s oldest institute, for the past nine years. I am confident he will continue the success of A&S.”  

White has served as an INSTAAR fellow since 1989, the same year he founded the institute’s Stable Isotope Lab. In recent years, White’s research in global change, paleoclimate dynamics and biogeochemistry has helped show that large climate changes in the natural system tend to occur as abrupt and rapid modal shifts.

“I thank Provost Moore for his confidence in me to lead the College of Arts and Sciences,” White said. “Having been a Geological Sciences professor within the college for many years and having been the founding chair of Environmental Studies in the college, I believe that I have insights on how we can build on our current programs and advance A&S. I look forward to meeting with students, faculty and staff to hear about their visions for the college.”