Dean

About

Biography

Benjamin C. Withers has been dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Colorado State University since 2016. In this role, Withers is responsible for $43M in annual expenditures, 13 academic departments/schools and six interdisciplinary programs, 539 faculty, 107 staff, and 6780 undergraduate and graduate students.

With his leadership, the College of Liberal Arts has increased the size of incoming first year and transfer undergraduate majors by 30%, added nearly 100 new tenure-track faculty, and doubled sponsored research awards (to $2.2 million), and, in conjunction with the Office of the Provost, significantly increased faculty and staff salaries. The College’s visibility across campus has grown with the implementation of three new Ph.D. programs and two new professional master’s programs along increased support for faculty-led research centers. In conjunction with his development staff, he has been a part of external fundraising that has totaled more than $40M in six years, which includes two of the largest individual gifts in college history: $5M in 2019 and $15M in 2020.

In 2020 and 2021, President Joyce McConnell appointed Withers as a member of the President’s Pandemic Planning Team and as co-chair of the Teaching Continuity and Recovery task force, a group that met consistently throughout the pandemic to ensure the excellence of CSU’s academic mission and the safety of CSU’s people. He has served as a member of then President Tony Frank’s President’s Commission on Culture, the College Board’s AP Higher Education Advisory Committee, and FoCO Creates which created the strategic plan for the City of Fort Collins.

Earning a Ph.D. in art history from the University of Chicago focusing on early medieval manuscripts, Withers has taught at Indiana University South Bend and University of Kentucky before coming to Colorado State. With three books/edited collections and nearly 40 peer-reviewed publications, his scholarship has been supported by the NEH, The Indiana University President’s Arts and Humanities Initiative, University of Kentucky, and The Ameritech Foundation, among others. He has been a department chair, honors program director, associate provost for undergraduate education, and dean of undergraduate studies. Withers has a track record of expanding and strengthening undergraduate programs, promoting multidisciplinary collaborations, fundraising, and supporting diversity and inclusion.

A two-time all-state musician in high school, Withers attended Carleton College, a small liberal arts college in Northfield, Minnesota, for his undergraduate studies.

Publications

Three BOOKS and EDITED COLLECTIONS published by British Library/University of Toronto Press, West Virginia University Press, and Medieval Institute Publications.

Thirty-Six ARTICLES, BOOK CHAPTERS, REFERENCE WORKS, and REVIEWS, including in premier and notable venues: The Art Bulletin, Anglo-Saxon England, Studies in Iconography, The Old English Newsletter, The Medieval Review, Atlas of World Art, Encyclopedia of Medieval Art (Oxford), and Handbook of Anglo-Saxon Studies.

Twenty-eighth INTERNATIONAL, NATIONAL, and INVITED LECTURES, including College Art Association, Modern Language Association, International Society of Anglo-Saxonists, University of Illinois, Stanford University, University of Chicago, Herron School (IUPUI), Loyola University (Chicago), and Index of Christian Art, Princeton University.

 

GRANT and FELLOWSHIP support for research from The Indiana University President’s Arts and Humanities Initiative, University of Kentucky, The Ameritech Foundation, Whiting Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.