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MU Provost appoints College of Arts and Science dean

November 21st, 2017

Story Contact: Christian Basi, 573-882-4430,

COLUMBIA, Mo. – University of Missouri Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Garnett S. Stokes announced today that Patricia Okker, professor of English and interim dean of the College of Arts and Science, has been named dean of the College of Arts and Science, effective immediately.

“Dr. Okker emerged from a strong pool of finalists as the clear choice of faculty, staff, and campus leaders inside and outside of the college,” Stokes said. “During her time as interim dean, Dr. Okker demonstrated that she is a dynamic, decisive leader who is willing to make tough decisions. Her abilities to communicate effectively, listen carefully and truly collaborate with others, along with her commitment to transparency and integrity, have earned her the trust and respect of many constituents. Dr. Okker cares about the success of faculty, staff and students, and her messages regarding the value of the arts and sciences have resonated with donors and board members. There is no question that Dr. Okker is prepared to lead the college into the future as a thoughtful innovator who understands the pressing issues affecting public higher education, especially our preeminent research universities. I can’t wait to see what she accomplishes as MU’s Arts and Science dean.”

Okker has been at the University of Missouri since 1990, and has previously served as chair of the Department of English and senior associate provost. While serving in the provost’s office, Okker was responsible for academic program reviews, strategic planning, leadership development and academic personnel issues. She has served as interim dean of the College of Arts and Science since August 2016. During that time, she launched a career-readiness program for A&S students and oversaw the creation of the School of Visual Studies and approval of the School of Music new building project.

“I am thrilled and honored to serve as dean of the College of Arts and Science, home to extraordinary faculty, staff, students and alumni, dedicated to student success and excellence in research and creative activity,” Okker said. “I look forward to working with colleagues here and throughout Missouri to ensure Mizzou’s role as a strong AAU public land grant university.”

Okker earned a bachelor of arts degree from Allegheny College, a master’s degree from the University of Georgia, and a doctorate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Okker’s research focuses on 19th-century American periodicals and women’s writing. She is the author of two books and numerous essays and editor of an essay collection. In 2003 she was named a William T. Kemper Fellow for Teaching Excellence, and she received a Faculty-Alumni Award from the Mizzou Alumni Association in 2013.