Cal Poly Names Philip Williams as New Dean of College of Liberal Arts

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Dr. Philip J. Williams, professor of political science and director of the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Florida, has been named as the new dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Cal Poly, Provost Kathleen Enz Finken announced today.

Williams succeeds Interim Dean Kathryn Rummell, longtime chair of the English Department, who has led the college since August after the retirement of previous dean Doug Epperson.

“Cal Poly is excited to welcome Dr. Williams as the new leader of our College of Liberal Arts,” Enz Finken said. “Philip brings a deep appreciation for Learn by Doing and the important role the liberal arts play in preparing students for success, along with a strong track record of diversity- and inclusion-focused education and research.”

Williams received his master’s degree in Latin American Studies and doctorate in politics from the University of Oxford. He is a native of California and received his bachelor’s degree in political science from UCLA.

He has taught political science since 1987, first as an assistant professor at Truman State University in Missouri from 1987-89 and as an assistant, associate, and then full professor at the University of Florida. He served as chair of the university’s Political Science Department from 2004 to 2007.

“In Cal Poly,” Williams said, “I see a university that is intensely focused on providing a well-rounded, cross-disciplinary education and truly committed to making sure that opportunity is afforded to the broadest possible cross-section of California’s students.

“The College of Liberal Arts plays a crucial role in those efforts. I am honored to have the opportunity to lead the college and eager to get to work expanding our cross-disciplinary efforts; enhancing hands-on learning and international opportunities; and attracting more faculty with diverse experiences to help prepare our students for success in the increasingly global and intercultural workforce.”

Williams has a long record of commitment to diversity and inclusion at the University of Florida, including his advocacy in support of undocumented students and his leadership since 2009 of the Center for Latin American Studies, a campuswide hub that leads and supports initiatives to increase academic engagement, research collaboration, and international education opportunities focused on Latin America and the Caribbean.

He also has led several interdisciplinary research and programmatic initiatives supported by prestigious fellowships and grants from Fulbright, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the United States Institute of Peace, and many others.

His research has focused on issues of democratization, demilitarization, religion and politics, social movements, and transitional migration. He is the author/editor of several books, including “Living ‘Illegal’: The Face of Human Unauthorized Immigration.”

Williams’ wife, Victoria Condor-Williams, is President of the Latin Women’s League and Director of the Gainesville Latino Film Festival, and his daughter, Daniela Williams-Condor, is a high school Spanish teacher in Eugene, Oregon.

Contact: Matt Lazier

February 19, 2019

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