Gary Schmidt, Ph.D., an experienced administrator from Coastal Carolina University, has been named dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Wright State University, effective June 1.
Schmidt will replace Linda Caron, Ph.D., who is retiring after a 34-year career at Wright State.
Schmidt is the director of diversity, equity and inclusion and community engagement for the Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts and coordinator of the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program at Coastal Carolina University. He is also a professor of German and an associate faculty member in women’s and gender studies.
As dean of Wright State’s College of Liberal Arts (CoLA), Schmidt will work closely with the faculty to implement the college’s reorganization plan, which involves the creation of three new schools: Fine and Performing Arts, Humanities and Cultural Studies, and Social Sciences and International Studies.
The reorganization of the college will facilitate collaboration across disciplines and streamline efforts to enhance existing programs and create new programs that will attract new student demographics to study the liberal arts, Schmidt said.
“The three new schools will each bring unique perspectives to the overall mission and vision of the college,” he said. “I look forward to leading the process of clearly articulating this mission and vision in a way that fosters a shared identity and sense of purpose among all members of the college.”
Schmidt said he believes passionately in the mission to provide access to a high-quality liberal arts education at an affordable cost to a broad demographic of students while focusing on the needs of the region.
As dean, he will apply his 16 years of experience at regional public universities building programs, fostering interdisciplinary connections, and promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion to facilitate programs that prepare students for a lifetime of professional advancement, civic engagement and personal satisfaction.
“CoLA has highly qualified and dedicated faculty who are clearly ready to move forward in an innovative manner to ensure the relevance of the liberal arts in the 21st century and foster the success of their students, and I am very excited about collaborating with them in this endeavor,” Schmidt said.
The College of Liberal Arts is also well-positioned to become the campus leader for diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, a model for community engagement, and a facilitator of dialogue at Wright State and in the community on critical issues, Schmidt said.
“Through collaboration within the college and across the university, we can enhance the ability of all Wright State students to meet the challenges of the 21st century workplace, which will require them to collaborate in diverse teams, think critically and creatively, communicate effectively with a variety of audiences, respond flexibly to new technologies and changing environments, and serve as leaders at work and in their communities,” Schmidt said.
Schmidt joined Coastal Carolina in 2016 as the founding chair of the Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies before being named the director of the Interdisciplinary Language Resource Center in 2020.
Previously he served as chair of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at Western Illinois University for four years.
He has also served as associate professor of German at the University of West Georgia; visiting assistant professor of German studies at Mount Holyoke College, Luther College, and Grinnell College; visiting assistant professor of modern languages at Knox College; assistant education specialist at the University of Minnesota; and lecturer in American Studies at Universität Stuttgart in Germany.
Schmidt received a Ph.D. in German from Washington University, an M.A. in German from the University of California, Santa Barbara, an M.S.Ed. in Secondary Education from Northern Illinois University, and a B.A. in International Relations and German from Knox College.