LAWRENCE — University of Kansas geology professor Don Steeples has been named interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. He will begin his role in March 2015 as current dean Danny Anderson prepares to leave KU to become president of Trinity University.
Steeples is the Dean A. McGee Distinguished Professor of Applied Geophysics in the College and a renowned seismology expert. Over the years, he has held various administrative roles at KU, including deputy director of the Kansas Geological Survey, chair of the Department of Geology and senior vice provost.
“Don Steeples has long been a key and trusted leader at the University of Kansas and the College, as a teacher, researcher and administrator,” said Jeffrey S. Vitter, provost and executive vice chancellor. “We are fortunate to have someone of his caliber serving as interim dean, and I’m confident he will continue the incredible momentum generated under Dean Anderson as we conduct a search for the College’s next permanent dean.”
In December 2014, Anderson announced he would leave KU at the end of the spring 2015 semester. A nationwide search for a new dean will be launched later this year.
“This is truly an exciting time for the College,” Steeples said, “and it’s an honor to serve as interim dean. My goal is to continue the tremendous progress the College has made under Danny’s leadership and help ensure a smooth transition to the next dean. I look forward to continuing a number of important initiatives for the College, including the continued implementation of the KU Core and the construction of the new Earth, Energy and Environment Center and Innovation Way, which will fundamentally change the way we educate students and do research at KU. I strongly believe that whoever becomes the next dean will inherit a College on a remarkable upward trajectory.”
Steeples’ specialty is seismic imaging of the shallow subsurface of the earth to detect such things as hidden earthquake faults and clandestine tunnels under international borders. As the McGee Distinguished Professor of Geophysics at KU, Steeples’ near-surface seismic research has led to dozens of co-authored papers in various journals. He has consulted for more than 60 clients, including Exxon, Amoco, Phillips, Schlumberger and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Steeples says his most fulfilling experience as a geophysicist was serving as president of the 32,000-member Society of Exploration Geophysicists in 2013-14. A native of Palco, Steeples came to Lawrence in 1975. He has been a distinguished professor of geology since 1993. Steeples holds a doctorate in geophysics from Stanford University.
The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences is KU's broadest, most diverse academic unit, encouraging learning without boundaries in its more than 50 departments, programs and centers.