TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — An English professor and associate dean who oversees the honors curriculum at Oregon State University has been named dean of The University of Alabama’s Honors College.
Dr. Tara Williams’ appointment as dean is effective March 1, said Dr. Kevin Whitaker, UA executive vice president and provost.
“Dr. Williams will be a tremendous asset to The University of Alabama,” Whitaker said. “In her role at OSU, she helped expand international opportunities for their Honors College students and oversaw the development of programs to continually attract premier students to the honors experience.”
Williams joined OSU in 2004 and has served as the associate dean of the Honors College there since 2013. During that time, she increased the honors curriculum from 230 to nearly 400 sections, led the extension of the Honors College to a second campus, established a grant program to support faculty in creating new experiential learning opportunities and guided a philanthropic group that supports student scholarships.
“I was drawn to the UA Honors College’s strong commitments to civic engagement and transformative educational experiences,” Williams said. “I look forward to working with all of the members of the Honors community and partners across campus as we build on those strengths and continue to expand the high-impact opportunities available to students.”
Williams grew up in Florida, earning her bachelor’s degree in English, with a classical studies minor, from the University of Florida. She earned her master’s and doctoral degrees from Rutgers University.
Author of two books and numerous peer-reviewed essays and chapters, Williams has landed grants supporting innovative teaching and learning opportunities, scholarships for graduate students and numerous efforts to develop seminars and teaching modules.
Students selected her as a Phi Beta Kappa Exemplary Faculty Member in 2017, and she was awarded the OSU College of Business Partner in Innovation Award for her role in an innovative approach to expanding the honors business curriculum.
Dr. Kenneth Fridley serves, as he has since May, as interim dean of UA’s Honors College.
The Honors College at UA enhances the undergraduate curriculum. Its foundation is the Honors Experience, which provides students with an enhanced academic curriculum and the ability to work with their peers and outstanding faculty members in an enriched academic environment. Entering freshmen with composite ACT scores of at least 30 or composite SAT scores of at least 1360 and at least a 3.5 high school GPA are invited to apply.
The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.