The Western Carolina University Board of Trustees appointed David A. Kinner as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences as part of its special-called meeting April 27. Kinner, who served as the interim dean, will start in his new position effective May 1.
“For nearly 18 challenging months, Dr. Kinner has provided strong leadership for the university’s largest college,” said Provost Richard D. Starnes. “His commitment to enhancing the student experience, supporting faculty, and deepening our commitment to the region will guide the College of Arts and Sciences to an even brighter future.”
A WCU associate professor of geology, Kinner has led the College of Arts of Sciences as its interim dean since 2019. His accomplishments in that role include leading the largest college at WCU during the beginning of the pandemic. Kinner also led the last phase of equipping and furnishing the new Apodaca Science Building, which opens this fall, and planning for renovations on the Stillwell Building.
Kinner earned both his doctorate and master’s degrees in geology from the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado. He earned his bachelor’s degree in geology from Amherst College. Prior to coming to Western, Kinner also studied post-fire hydrology and erosion in watersheds, as a Mendenhall Post-Doctoral Scholar at the U.S. Geological Survey. He first came to work at WCU in 2006 as an assistant professor in the Department of Geosciences and Natural Resources and was later promoted to associate professor in 2012. Kinner was the associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences from 2014 through 2019 until his appointment as the interim dean.
Kinner is well-published and has received many academic honors, which include receiving the College of Arts and Sciences Teaching Award, Chancellor’s Meritorious Award for Engaged Teaching, and being named a finalist for the University of North Carolina Board of Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. He has also worked with his WCU colleagues and students on several successful grant proposals and contracts related to student learning, hydrology and landslides.
The College of Arts and Sciences offers a wide range of programs in the sciences, the social sciences and the humanities, in which our students use innovative modes of inquiry to pursue new knowledge. Its departments provide a wide range of liberal studies and foundational courses to prepare students outside our college to excel in their disciplines. The faculty are dedicated teacher-scholars who use the knowledge and experience from their research to inspire student imaginations in the classroom, and they teach the skills that 21st century employers demand: critical thinking, analysis of evidence, and oral, written, and digital communication. Its goal is to develop and mentor students to be educated and engaged citizens in a rapidly changing world.