Topeka, Kan. – Washburn University is pleased to announce that Dr. Kelly Erby, interim dean of the Washburn University College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), will assume the role permanently. The selection follows a highly competitive national search and takes effect immediately.

    “Washburn was fortunate to have a large number of exceptional applicants for the position. In the end, Dr. Erby’s commitment to students, her record of success and a true love of Washburn made her the ideal person for the role,” said Dr. JuliAnn Mazachek, president, Washburn University.

    Erby began serving as interim dean of CAS June 1, 2023. During the past year, she has led several faculty, curricular and teaching initiatives including the creation of the Bachelor of General Studies degree which is designed to encourage students to complete a four-year degree at Washburn. Thousands of students in Shawnee County and across the state started college but were forced to stop because of finances and complicated life circumstances. This program has been created with them in mind.

    “It is evident through initiatives such as the Bachelor of General Studies that Dr. Erby is an innovative leader who continues to look for new ways to provide academic programs and pathways that best fit the needs of students and our communities,” said Dr. John Fritch, provost and vice president for academic affairs, Washburn University.

    Erby earned a bachelor’s degree in history and English from the Ohio State University and her master’s and doctorate in history from Emory University. She joined Washburn in 2011 as an assistant professor in history, received tenure in 2017 and was promoted to full professor in 2021. During her most recent years at Washburn, Erby served as an assistant or associate dean of CAS. Her book Restaurant Republic: The Rise of Public Dining in Boston was published by the University of Minnesota Press in 2016.

    “I am thrilled to lead the College of Arts and Sciences at Washburn University. For more than 13 years, Washburn has been my home and passion, and I am deeply committed to our mission of expanding access to higher education,” Erby said. “I am especially passionate about the arts and sciences, which empower students by cultivating critical thinking, effective communication and creativity. These disciplines offer a comprehensive understanding of the world, preparing individuals to thrive in a rapidly changing society.”

    Erby replaces Dr. Laura Stephenson who served for many years as CAS dean before stepping into the role of interim provost and vice president for academic affairs at Washburn. Stephenson retires later this month.


For further information, contact:
Lori Hutchinson
Exec. Dir. of Strategic Communications & Marketing
Telephone: 785-670-1711
Cell: 785-224-6212
back to top button