After almost 20 years in the position, Douglass Sullivan-González, dean of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, announced on Thursday that he will step down from the position in August 2021.
“My passion and skills call me to pour my time into writing and research, and I cannot do justice to the demands of the SMBHC deanship in this historic moment,” he wrote in an email to students.
Sullivan-González plans to return to the history department in the fall to write, research and teach about Central America. He is currently working with a team of researchers to understand the driving causes of Central American migration to the United States.
He was appointed as the interim director of the honors college in July 2002 and has served as dean since 2003. His departure will mark his 19th year in the role.
During his time, he grew the honors college population from 375 students to more than 1,500 students and helped raise nearly $30 million dollars.
Prior to becoming the dean, Sullivan-González served as an assistant professor at the university in 1993. He then taught at Tulane University as a visiting assistant professor in the Department of History from 1999-2000.
Sullivan-González said he believes that a new dean will be able to move the SMBHC forward, academically and programmatically. He said next fall offers the perfect opportunity for a new dean to step into the position.
“We have experienced extraordinary success with the SMBHC mission, and the team of staff, faculty and students with administrative support have enabled this achievement,” he wrote. “It has been an incredible honor to work with this team during the four UM administrations over two decades.”
Sullivan-González said that he, along with the SMBHC staff, will work hard to ensure a smooth transition of leadership. The SMBHC has not yet announced who will take over as interim dean.