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Bobbi Owen (left) with Dean Karen Gil. (photo by Will Owens)
Bobbi Owen (left) with Dean Karen Gil. (photo by Will Owens)

Bobbi Owen, senior associate dean for undergraduate education, has been awarded the William F. Little Award for Distinguished Service to the College of Arts and Sciences in recognition of her extraordinary leadership and service.

The honor was presented during an Arts and Sciences Foundation board dinner on April 24 by College Dean Karen M. Gil and Arts and Sciences Foundation Board Chair Vicki Craver.

The award resolution honoring Owen, cited her as “a superb teacher, scholar and administrator.”

“At the end of June, Bobbi will complete a decade of extraordinary and meritorious leadership and service as senior associate dean for undergraduate education,” Dean Gil said. “She has been an instrumental leader on the dean’s senior administrative team, helping to shape and fulfill the vision and mission for the entire College. That alone would merit our presenting her with the Bill Little Award. But there’s much more.”

Among Owen’s accomplishments as senior associate dean for undergraduate education, Gil cited:

  • Leadership of the Office of Undergraduate Education. Under her guidance, the First Year Seminar Program, the Office for Undergraduate Research and Honors Carolina have risen to national prominence, bolstering UNC’s standing as a leading innovator in undergraduate education.
  • Work in strengthening programs that benefit all Carolina undergraduates, including enhancing the undergraduate general education requirements to ensure that students graduate in a timely fashion, prepared with the knowledge, skills and experience they need to succeed in a fast-changing world.
  • Creation of an Undergraduate Retention Office. She has placed a special emphasis on helping first-generation college students, and her initiatives have contributed to increases in UNC’s graduation and retention rates, which continue to be the highest for all UNC campuses and are among the highest for major public research universities nationwide.
  • Strategic improvements made in Academic Advising and the Center for Student Success and Academic Counseling, resulting in more focused support for all students.
  • Guidance of the Office of Distinguished Scholarships, which has helped students continue to successfully apply for highly competitive awards, resulting in more Rhodes Scholarships at Carolina than any other public university over the past decade and more Luce Scholarships than any public or private university.
  •  Service to the University by overseeing the accreditation and review process, a massive and important undertaking.

Owen previously served the College in other valuable roles, as associate dean for arts and sciences, interim associate dean for general education, associate dean for academic services and assistant dean for the General College.

Owen, the Michael R. McVaugh Distinguished Professor of Dramatic Art, is an expert on the history of costumes and of theatrical costumes, lighting and scenic designers.

She has been a member of the Carolina faculty since 1974. She has served the department of dramatic art as director of the honors program and of undergraduate studies, and she was head of the graduate costume design program. She has taught undergraduate and graduate courses, honors classes and first year seminars.

The Little award was established in 2009 by the College to recognize Little’s distinguished service and to honor faculty, staff and volunteers who have served the College with extraordinary distinction.

Little was a member of the College faculty for more than 40 years. He was a distinguished chemist and chair of the chemistry department, a former vice president of the UNC system and a visionary leader who helped guide the development of the Research Triangle Park and Research Triangle Institute. He also was one of the founders of the Arts and Sciences Foundation.




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