An aerial shot of Trinity's campus
Trinity Transitions to Four-School Academic System
Three inaugural deans selected to lead this change

Starting June 1, 2023, Trinity University will transition to a four-school academic system to further cultivate the University’s commitment to the liberal arts. These Schools facilitate administrative and intellectual connections to foster interdisciplinary work across various departments and programs. Each School is headed by a dean who is responsible for leading and coordinating the work of department chairs and program directors to support faculty and student success.

Trinity’s four Schools of academic study and their corresponding deans are: 

As the senior leaders of the Schools, the deans report to Megan Mustain, Ph.D., provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, and represent their respective Schools in academic administrative matters. 

“I am eager to work with Drs. Dupertuis, Ribble, and Christiansen in their new roles, and I am excited to see the new Schools emerge and unfold under their leadership,” Mustain says. “Additionally, I am grateful to the faculty, staff, and student members of the decanal search committees who navigated the searches with grace and professionalism, never losing sight of the importance and integrity of the process.” 

The deans strengthen the sense of shared purpose and community among the Schools’ faculty, staff, and students as they develop as teachers, scholars, and participants in the life of the University. 


School of Arts and Humanities 

Trinity’s School of Arts and Humanities merges history, culture, and innovation. Combining research and experiential learning with an interdisciplinary perspective, the School creates curious, critical thinkers and innovators who apply themselves beyond the classroom.

At the School’s inaugural helm is Rubén Dupertuis, whose background in English literature and theological studies represents the interdisciplinarity of the humanities at Trinity. Accordingly, since joining the University in 2006 as an assistant professor of religion, Dupertuis has served as a co-director of Trinity’s Humanities Collective and as a Humanities Division Councilor for the Council on Undergraduate Research, along with teaching the Roman World Lab with classical studies professor and chair Tim O’Sullivan, Ph.D.

The School of Arts and Humanities will house the Departments of Art and Art History, Classical Studies, English, History, Human Communication and Theatre, Modern Languages and Literatures, Music, Philosophy, and Religion. The School will also house three interdisciplinary programs: global Latinx studies; Mexico, the Americas, and Spain (MAS); and women’s and gender studies (WAGS).

Special thanks to the search committee, which included David Crockett, Ph.D.; David Heller, D.M.A.; Jason Johnson, Ph.D.; Kathryn Vomero Santos, Ph.D.; Katherine Troyer, Ph.D.; Rita Urquijo-Ruiz,  Ph.D. (chair); Elizabeth Ward, MFA; and student, Ayden Bartsch ’24. 


School of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics 

Trinity’s School of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics keeps science on display. This School offers nationally recognized, cutting-edge experiential learning and undergraduate research opportunities presented through a liberal arts lens that allows for interdisciplinary exploration, rigor, and growth. 

Biology professor David Ribble leads the School as its inaugural dean. Ribble currently serves as the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs: Research and Budget. He has also served as the chair of the Department of Biology and director of environmental studies. Ribble teaches courses in ecology and evolution, including a field course in Costa Rica.

The School of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics will house the Departments of Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Engineering Science, Geosciences, Mathematics, Physics and Astronomy, and Psychology. The School will also house three interdisciplinary programs: biochemistry and molecular biology, mathematical finance, and neuroscience.

Special thanks to the search committee, which included Christina Cooley, Ph.D.; Pete Kelly-Zion, Ph.D. (co-chair); Eddy Kwessi, Ph.D.; Katie Ramirez; David Rando, Ph.D.; Orrin Shindell, Ph.D.; Carol Yoder, Ph.D. (co-chair); and student Dhiraj Veerappan ’24.

School of Social Science and Civic Engagement

The University’s School of Social Science and Civic Engagement emphasizes community and connections. In this School, students and faculty investigate social organization and cultural knowledge through interdisciplinary courses. Departments within this School are grounded in a balanced blend of liberal arts and applied professional programs, where faculty engage and prepare students for meaningful lives of leadership and service around the world.

Economics associate professor Nels Christiansen heads the cross-disciplinary community as the School’s inaugural dean. Christiansen joined Trinity in 2009 and teaches courses on the economics of government, industrial organization, and microeconomic theory. He has also served on the Faculty Senate as part of the Budget Advisory Committee and was part of the President’s Operating Budget Task Force in 2020.

The School of Social Science and Civic Engagement will house the Departments of Communication, Economics, Education, Health Care Administration, Political Science, and Sociology and Anthropology. The School will also house four interdisciplinary programs: East Asian Studies at Trinity (EAST); environmental studies; international studies; and urban studies.

Special thanks to the search committee, which included Lapétra Bowman, Ph.D.; Rebecca Densley, Ph.D.; Rocio Delgado, Ph.D.; Christine Drennon, Ph.D. (chair); Maria Pia Paganelli, Ph.D.; Patrick Shay ’03, M’05, Ph.D.; Kathleen Surpless, Ph.D.; and student William Blaine Martin ’25.

Michael Neidorff School of Business

The three new Schools round out a four-school academic structure that includes the Michael Neidorff School of Business, which was named in 2021. The Neidorff School of Business, led by Dean Robert Scherer, houses the Departments of Accounting, Business Administration, and Finance and Decision Sciences. 


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