Wells named Maryville College VP and Dean

Feb. 3, 2012
Contact: Karen B. Eldridge, Director of Communications
865.981.8207; karen.eldridge@maryvillecollege.edu

Dr. Barbara Wells, professor of sociology at Maryville College, has been selected as the next vice president and dean of Maryville College.

Maryville College President Dr. William T. “Tom” Bogart announced the news Thursday in a Town Hall gathering of faculty and staff members inside the Alumni Gymnasium.

The appointment is effective immediately and should require little transition for the campus community, as Wells has been serving in the position in an interim capacity since June 1, 2011.

“Dr. Wells emerged as the top candidate from a strong national search,” Bogart said. “Her demonstrated ability and devotion to Maryville College make her ideally suited to serve in this leadership position.”

In a memo distributed Thursday to faculty and staff, the president stated that he was making the announcement with “great pleasure and confidence.”

“The pleasure comes from the knowledge, gained over the months of her interim appointment, of Barbara’s character and attitude of goodwill,” he explained. “The confidence comes from recognition of her experience as a teacher, her talents, her values, and her understanding of and commitment to this College.”

Dr. Daniel Klingensmith, professor of history, chaired the search committee, which was composed of representatives from faculty, staff and the student body.

“In less than a year as interim dean, Barbara has already accomplished quite a lot,” Klingensmith said. “She has been crucial in leading our efforts at strategic planning and at maintaining Maryville College as an institution that is both academically rigorous and strongly relevant to the needs of today’s students.

“She will be a great dean for us going forward,” he added.

Wells joined the Maryville College faculty in 1998 and served as chair of the Social Sciences Division from 2006 until 2011. She was promoted to full professor in 2010.

While at Maryville College, Wells has served on numerous committees and boards, including the Faith and Learning Committee, the Faculty Personnel Standards Committee and the Diversity Task Force.

She is currently co-chairing the College’s strategic plan, “Renewing Our Strength: Maryville College’s Bicentennial and Beyond,” which aims to position the College for unprecedented success at its bicentennial in 2019.

The new dean earned her master’s and doctoral degrees from Michigan State University. Her undergraduate studies were completed at Calvin College.

Wells has conducted much research on Latino families, and she has published a variety of academic articles on the subject and received numerous grants and fellowships for continued study. She co-authored the textbook Diversity in Families (Prentice Hall, 9th edition). Her manuscript “Daughters and Granddaughters of Farmworkers: Emerging from the Long Shadow of Farm Labor” is under consideration by a publishing company.


Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the fall 2013 semester is 1,168.