Provost and Executive Vice President for the Division of Academic Affairs Suzanne Austin shared the following message with the campus community on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020:

Dear Campus Community,

I write today with some news about several of our academic leaders.

Godfrey Gibbison

Godfrey Gibbison

As you may know, the College currently has four deans serving in an interim capacity: Godfrey Gibbison as interim dean of the Graduate School, Gibbs Knotts as interim dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Elizabeth Meyer-Bernstein as interim dean of the Honors College, and Sebastian van Delden as interim dean of the School of Sciences and Mathematics.

sebastian van delden

Sebastian van Delden

While interim appointments such as these are a common and important organizational tool, I am mindful of the fact that having several interim leaders at one time can create a sense of uncertainty for the faculty and staff in these schools, not to mention for the interim deans themselves. And, during the pandemic, the ability to conduct meaningful and effective leadership searches is severely limited until, most likely, the 2021–2022 academic year.

Therefore, I am pleased to announce that I am removing these interim designations and extending for two years the appointments of each of these individuals. These appointments, which are effective immediately, also include an option for extension beyond two years based on strong performance.

Elizabeth Meyer-Bernstein

Elizabeth Meyer-Bernstein

Please join me in congratulating these colleagues for this well-deserved recognition and read below for more information about each of them. Along with our five other deans – Dean Fran Welch, Dean Valerie Morris, Dean Alan Shao, Dean Timothy Johnson and Dean John White – the College is truly fortunate to have such a highly accomplished roster of academic leaders.

Gibbs Knotts

Gibbs Knotts

This brings me to another announcement. School of the Arts Dean Valerie Morris has recently announced her retirement at the end of this calendar year. She has served as dean since 1998, during which time she has significantly elevated the quality of our arts, music, dance, theatre and other programs, expanded the College’s involvement in the cultural life of Charleston and brought an incredible array of live performances to our campus. We look forward to celebrating Dean Morris’ many achievements and opportunities to express our gratitude in the weeks to come. Shortly, I will engage with the department chairs, faculty and staff in the School of the Arts around the process for identifying the next dean.

In closing, I want to say how proud and honored I am to have joined the College of Charleston, an institution whose potential for national distinction exceeds any other university in the country. Along with President Hsu, our deans and my colleagues on the Senior Team, I am committed to helping lead our university toward the realization of this enormous potential and building on the incredible foundation of academic excellence that is already firmly established.

Sincerely yours,


Suzanne Austin
Provost and Executive Vice President
Division of Academic Affairs