University of Missouri–St. Louis names Andrew Balkansky new dean of the College of Arts and Sciences

Andrew Balkansky, new dean of the College of Arts and Sciences

Andrew Balkansky has been named the new dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. The longtime faculty member and administrator at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, will assume his new position on July 1.

The University of Missouri–St. Louis has selected Andrew K. Balkansky, a longtime faculty member and administrator at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, to serve as new dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Balkansky was chosen after a nationwide search and will assume his new position on July 1. Professor Frank Grady will remain in his position as interim dean until then.

“On behalf of the UMSL community, I am delighted to welcome Andrew Balkansky as the new dean of Arts and Sciences,” said Steven J. Berberich, UMSL’s provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. “Andrew brings a wealth of experience and a distinguished record of scholarship, teaching and leadership.”

Balkansky served as interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts at SIUC from 2018-2022 and before that was associate dean for students and curricular affairs from 2017-2018. Balkansky was dean during a period of rapid transition on the SIU campus in addition to navigating the pandemic. Before being an interim dean and associate dean, he had prior administrative experiences as a museum studies, university studies and undergraduate studies director.

“UMSL has been on my radar for a long time,” Balkansky said. “I’ve always admired its mission of access and opportunity for students in the St. Louis area. The faculty are world-class and, at the same time, are focused on the student experience and student outcomes, both in the classroom and after graduation.”

Balkansky will be leading UMSL’s largest college, with disciplines spanning the arts, humanities and sciences. Priorities include meeting enrollment and retention targets, while continuing to provide essential research, training, and internship experiences for students in the St. Louis metropolitan area.

“I see an opportunity to make a difference for students,” Balkansky said. “After visiting the campus and meeting with faculty, staff and students, I got a real sense of shared purpose, positivity and an optimistic outlook despite the many challenges facing universities today.”

Balkansky will be joining UMSL’s Department of History as a tenured professor. His academic background is in Latin American archaeology and ethnohistory. After earning his doctorate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he was a scientific assistant and postdoctoral fellow at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. He taught at George Washington University before moving to Carbondale in 2003, with promotions to associate professor in 2007 and professor in 2012.

Balkansky has authored, co-authored or edited five books, as well as numerous research articles and book chapters focusing on the long-term evolution of early village societies and the transition to urbanism and states in ancient Mexico. He has publications in a variety of peer-reviewed journals, including Current Anthropology and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and in comprehensive volumes on ancient Mexico published by Oxford, Cambridge and UNESCO. He has received funding from the National Science Foundation and National Geographic Society, including the excavation of a pre-urban Formative site, dating from 1400 B.C. in the highlands of Oaxaca, Mexico. He is an expert on regional archaeological surveys and has field experience in the American Midwest.


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