MU Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Garnett Stokes on Tuesday named Patricia Okker dean of the College of Arts and Science, effective immediately.
Okker, a professor of English, had been serving as interim dean of A&S since Aug. 1, 2016.
“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."
Okker has been at MU 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 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.
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.
Michael O’Brien, the previous dean of the College of Arts and Science, left MU to become the provost at Texas A&M University–San Antonio.