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Rhonda Gonzales Appointed Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

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Mary Clark

Announcement  •

Dear DU community members,

Rhona Gonzales
Dr. Rhonda Gonzales

It is with tremendous delight that I share, with the concurrence of the chancellor, that Dr. Rhonda M. Gonzales has been appointed as our next dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (CAHSS), effective July 1, 2021. Dr. Gonzales will also be appointed as full professor with tenure in DU’s Department of History. Dr. Gonzales’ area of research and teaching expertise is African history, specifically the history of East Africa and the Atlantic slave trade to Mexico.

Dr. Gonzales comes to us from The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), where she currently serves as chair of the history department and professor of history. She has also served as interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at UTSA. Prior to serving as interim dean, Dr. Gonzales was instrumental in serving as UTSA’s interim vice president for student success and associate vice provost for strategic initiatives. In both roles, she envisioned and oversaw a series of initiatives related to student persistence and thriving. Most recently, she is co-principal investigator on a multi-million dollar grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. DU and CAHSS will greatly benefit from Dr. Gonzales’ expertise and insights in these critically important domains.

Despite her growing administrative responsibilities, Dr. Gonzales has maintained a steady research agenda. She recently co-authored a book with Oxford University Press titled Bantu Africa. In 2017, she published a co-authored chapter on African women’s history in an edited collection with Routledge Press. And she is co-author of a forthcoming book with Cambridge University Press entitled, Family Before Gender: History in Central and Eastern Africa, ca. 500-1900. Dr. Gonzales’ work in precolonial East African history is highly interdisciplinary and collaborative, drawing on multiple fields of scholarly inquiry and garnering recognition, as with a recent multi-year grant to conduct research on African history from the National Endowment for the Humanities in 2017.

Dr. Gonzales earned her B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California at Los Angeles. She began her academic career at Macalester College in Minnesota before moving to The University of Texas system. She has served as a Fulbright reviewer, an external reviewer for DePaul University and a grant reviewer for the American Historical Association. Her expertise on the status of women of color within the history profession and beyond is regularly sought after by higher education institutions and organizations.

Upon learning of her appointment, Dr. Gonzales remarked, “I am thrilled to join the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences as its next dean. Joining DU to champion liberal and creative arts as the keystone of a 21st century comprehensive education is an honor that I embrace with great enthusiasm and commitment.”

It gives me great pleasure now to offer my profoundest thanks to the CAHSS dean search committee for their immense time, thoughtfulness, and insight. It was a great honor indeed to partner with such a hard-working committee:


  • Anne DePrince, professor of psychology and director of DU’s Center for Community Engagement to advance Scholarship and Learning (CCESL)
  • Andrei Kutateladze, dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics


  • Paula Adamo, teaching professor, Spanish language, literary and cultural studies
  • Liz Escobedo, associate professor, history and CAHSS director of diversity, equity and inclusion
  • Jennifer Garner, CAHSS executive director of development
  • Craig Harrison, University of Denver trustee (BSBA ’03)
  • Kirk Jones, CAHSS chief operating officer
  • Lisa Martinez, professor, sociology and criminology
  • Andrea Stanton, chair and associate professor, religious studies
  • Keith Ward, director and professor, Lamont School of Music

Co-chair and professor Anne DePrince remarked upon news of Dr. Gonzales’ appointment, “We were grateful for robust engagement from the CAHSS and DU community, which made it possible to showcase the college’s distinctive approach to bringing the University’s public good vision to life. We’re excited that Dr. Gonzales will be a champion for the college’s work.”

Dr. Gonzales will succeed Dean Danny McIntosh, who has led CAHSS with a powerful commitment to our students and community. Dean McIntosh’s commitment to our students is most evident in the college’s development of the Keystone Experiences, a set of faculty-guided, integrative learning experiences. Under Dr. McIntosh's leadership, the college raised nearly $40 million to support student work, internships and training opportunities, as well as faculty innovation, research and creative work. Most notably, during this time, the college secured valuable national grants and philanthropic support for the John Madden Center for Innovation in the Liberal and Creative Arts, including numerous faculty-led initiatives such as the Casa de Paz Learning Community and the DU Prison Arts Initiative.

Following a well-earned sabbatical, Dr. McIntosh will rejoin the faculty in the Department of Psychology where he’ll return to teaching and continue his research. Please join me in congratulating and thanking Dr. McIntosh for his leadership.

Rhonda, her husband, Curtis, and son, Alonzo, are greatly looking forward to moving to Denver. They are excited to make Colorado their home and to take advantage of the state’s spectacular landscape and the outdoor adventures it invites.

Please join me in welcoming Rhonda and her family to DU. Together, we have a very exciting future ahead!


With best regards,

Mary Clark

Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor