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Ana Franco-Watkins named interim dean of College of Liberal Arts

Following an internal search, Ana Franco-Watkins, professor and chair of the Department of Psychological Sciences, has been named interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts, effective July 1. Franco-Watkins will oversee the college until a permanent dean is announced to replace Joe Aistrup, who will transition back to the faculty after serving eight years in the position.

A decision scientist and noted scholar, Franco-Watkins brings extensive experience to the position of interim dean, including leading various initiatives and strategic planning efforts at the college and university levels.

“In addition to being a respected leader, scholar and colleague, Dr. Franco-Watkins brings a wide array of experience and service to the position,” said Provost Bill Hardgrave. “I know that she will successfully lead the college during this time of transition and will position its faculty, staff and students for continued success.”

Franco-Watkins joined Auburn University in 2006 after completing a postdoctoral research fellowship at the University of California, San Diego. While serving as an associate professor, Franco-Watkins oversaw the department’s graduate and undergraduate programs before being promoted to full professor in 2017. Since assuming the role of department chair the same year, Franco-Watkins has overseen numerous initiatives designed to strengthen the university’s culture of faculty excellence, inclusion and diversity, something she looks forward to continuing as interim dean.

“I am humbled and honored to serve the College of Liberal Arts as interim dean. I am excited about the opportunity to collaborate with students, faculty and staff as we continue our mission, highlight and promote our uniqueness and share our vision to be a leading college unified in excellence,” said Franco-Watkins.

In addition to her role as chair, Franco-Watkins also serves as a faculty affiliate for the Auburn Future Faculty Initiative and co-leads a campus-wide series for departmental leaders. Among her many campus initiatives, Franco-Watkins serves on the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education, or COACHE, workgroup and the Board of Trustees Institutional Advancement Committee and chaired the Women in Science and Engineering, or WISE, steering committee. Most recently, Franco-Watkins was a member of the prestigious Higher Education Resources Service, or HERS, Leadership Institute.

Franco-Watkins holds degrees in psychology from St. Mary’s College of Maryland, the College of William & Mary and the University of Maryland, College Park. She is an author or co-author of more than 30 articles and research papers and is an active member of the Council of Graduate Programs of Psychology, the Society for Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology and the American Psychological Association.

Tags: Psychological Sciences

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