Kevin Guskiewicz, a neuroscientist and internationally recognized expert on sport-related concussions and a senior associate dean in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s College of Arts and Sciences, will become the College’s 22nd dean. Guskiewicz was selected after an extensive nationwide search led by Executive Vice Provost and Chief International Officer Ron Strauss, and succeeds Dean Karen M. Gil, who will return to the College’s department of psychology and neuroscience after serving as dean for more than six years.
A 20-year member of Carolina’s faculty, Guskiewicz shared a vision for the immediate and long-term future of the College that inspired the search committee and he emerged early as a top candidate.
“Kevin is a natural fit to become the next leader of our vibrant College of Arts and Sciences, which provides students with a critical foundation for learning and discovery every day,” said UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol L. Folt. “An extremely accomplished teacher and researcher renowned for his expertise in injury prevention, Kevin represents the very best of Carolina. We look forward to his continued leadership on our campus.”
Guskiewicz currently oversees the academic departments and programs in the division of natural sciences and mathematics in the College. He is also the Kenan Distinguished Professor of Exercise and Sport Science and co-director of the Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center and director of the Center for the Study of Retired Athletes. He holds appointments in the departments of orthopaedics and physical medicine and rehabilitation, the UNC Injury Prevention Research Center and the doctoral program in human movement science.
“Kevin combines a deep interest in academic research with a real appreciation for the importance of using his findings to impact important problems,” said Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost James W. Dean, Jr. “In his senior associate dean role, he has ably guided the natural sciences during a time of great change, including a pedagogical revolution in the teaching of science. Led by Kevin and others, Carolina has become one of the leading institutions in the country for new teaching and learning models.”
“I am excited to lead the College of Arts and Sciences at the University I have grown to love over the past 20 years,” said Guskiewicz. “During this time I have gained an appreciation for the different challenges and needs of faculty, students and staff from distinct areas, but with a common mission – to be the very best global public research university that also serves the people of North Carolina. I look forward to introducing initiatives to bridge the gap between research and teaching so that our students can benefit from the world-renowned research of our faculty.”
Guskiewicz earned a B.S. in athletic training from West Chester University, M.S. in exercise physiology/athletic training from the University of Pittsburgh and Ph.D. in sports medicine from the University of Virginia. Over the past 22 years, his research has focused on sport-related concussion, investigating its effect on balance and neurocognitive function in athletes, and the long-term neurological issues related to playing sport.
His groundbreaking work has garnered numerous awards, including fellowships in the American College of Sports Medicine, the National Academy of Kinesiology and the National Athletic Trainers’ Association. His research has influenced concussion guidelines and recommendations made by these organizations as well as the NCAA and the NFL. He was named to the NCAA’s Concussion Committee, the NFL Players Association’s Mackey-White Committee and the NFL’s Head, Neck, and Spine Committee.
In 2011, he was awarded a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship for his innovative work on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of sport-related concussions. He and his colleagues used that award to help improve safety in high school sports and to help the U.S. military identify and treat serious head injuries. In 2013, Time magazine named him a Game Changer, one of 18 “innovators and problem-solvers that are inspiring change in America.”
Guskiewicz and his wife, Amy, have four children: Jacob, 19; Nathan, 17; Adam, 15, and Tessa, 8. He assumes the deanship Jan. 1, 2016, and will continue his involvement with UNC-Chapel Hill’s leading concussion program while serving the University and the College.
The College of Arts and Sciences is the largest academic unit on campus and forms the academic core of “the Carolina experience.” It is home to more than 16,000 undergraduate students, over 2,500 graduate students and nearly 1,000 faculty that teach 85 percent of all undergraduate hours at Carolina. The College offers more than 40 academic majors and is composed of over 70 departments, curricula, programs, centers and institutes. Eight of its departments are ranked in the top 25 graduate programs by U.S. News & World Report.