New College of Liberal Studies dean

Headshot image of Karl Kunkel.Karl Kunkel comes to UWL with experience as a dean at Pittsburg State University in Kansas and additional senior administrative duties at Southeast Missouri State.

Karl Kunkel to start July 1

Karl Kunkel, of Southeast Missouri State University, will become the new dean of UW-La Crosse’s College of Liberal Studies starting July 1. (Effective May 28, the college name will change to the College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities (CASSH))

“I look forward to joining the leadership team and working collaboratively with the high quality, student-centered, and obviously very dedicated faculty and staff in the college,” Kunkel wrote in an email. “CASSH has a well-developed strategic plan, particularly in relationship to advocating for the liberal arts, advancing inclusive excellence, and fostering partnerships.” 

A sociologist by training, Kunkel comes to UWL with experience as a dean at Pittsburg State University in Kansas and additional senior administrative duties at Southeast Missouri State.

As dean, Kunkel will provide leadership and coordination of academic programs in the college, as well as working with the respective departments and programs in ongoing planning activities.

Kunkel’s strength of administrative experience, his knowledge regarding UWL, and his desire to be a dean for a college of liberal arts made him stand out as a strong applicant, explains UWL Provost Betsy Morgan.

Kunkel says he is both “thrilled and honored” to be selected.

“I am excited to work with faculty and staff, further enhancing academic programs and the reputation of the college while ultimately providing a transformative experience for all students touched by CASSH either as majors, minors, through general education courses, and/or through participating in the visual and performing arts,” Kunkel writes.   

About Karl Kunkel

As dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Pittsburg State, Kunkel oversaw12 academic departments spanning the fine arts, humanities, social and natural sciences, along with the Irene Ransom Bradley School of Nursing. Under Kunkel’s leadership, the college offered more than 90 percent of the university’s general education program and deliberately pursued a mission to create lifelong learners and global citizens.

As dean, Kunkel collaborated with faculty and other administrators to develop and implement a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree, the first doctoral-level program offered at Pittsburg State. He also was central in securing and initiating a recurring $1 million targeted legislative enhancement in Polymer Chemistry to create new bachelor of science and master of science degrees, along with an intensive faculty research program. Kunkel also partnered with campus administrators and faculty creating a summer online general education program combatting previously declining summer enrollments, developing and initiating a new comprehensive undergraduate degree program in Modern Languages, and envisioning the art, music, and theatre presence in the $33 million Bicknell Family Center for the Arts that opened in January 2015. 

Prior to assuming responsibilities as dean at Pittsburg State in July 2011, Kunkel was faculty and, in February 2003, named Department Head of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminology at Missouri State University.  He received the University Award for Teaching at Missouri State in both 1998 and 2003. Kunkel completed a doctoral degree in sociology with specialization in social control, deviance, and crime from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1989. He specializes in criminal justice policy, criminal courts and law, along with social justice issues in criminology. Kunkel also has presented work in the scholarship of teaching and learning, particularly technology in college instruction, along with issues involved with university administration. He has been an active member of the Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences and regularly attended academic affairs meetings of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU). Kunkel was selected to begin training as a peer reviewer for the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) in Fall 2019.