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Published: February 22, 2023

Holley Tankersley Appointed Dean of UT’s College of Social Sciences, Mathematics and Education

Holley Tankersley, currently founding dean of the Spadoni College of Education and Social Sciences at Coastal Carolina University, has been named by The University of Tampa as the dean of the College of Social Sciences, Mathematics and Education (CSSME).

As dean, Tankersley will oversee the departments of computer science; criminology and criminal justice; education, history, sociology geography and legal studies; mathematics; political science and international studies; and, psychology. She will begin on June 15.

Holley TankersleyHolley Tankersley has been named by The University of Tampa as the dean of the College of Social Sciences, Mathematics and Education (CSSME). Photo courtesy of Holley Tankersley

Tankersley said she is thrilled to join the CSSME ranks to support and champion efforts that engage not only students, but also a wide variety of community partners and stakeholders.

"The College of Social Sciences, Mathematics and Education is filled with innovative problem-solvers who want to make a difference in their communities and the world,” Tankersley said. “The faculty care deeply about propelling their students into personal and professional success.”

Tankersley, a political scientist with research and teaching expertise in public policy and political institutions, was named founding dean of the Spadoni College of Education and Social Sciences at Coastal Carolina in 2021. In that position, she led and managed a college of six departments and created new policies and procedures for the new college, from promotion and tenure policies to student grievance procedures.

Prior to her current position, Tankersley served three roles at Coastal Carolina since 2012: associate provost for strategic initiatives and faculty development; associate dean of the Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts; and, chair of the Department of Politics and Geography. She is also a full professor.

David Stern, UT’s provost and vice president for academic affairs, said UT is excited to have attracted someone with Tankersley’s expertise and accomplishments to lead CSSME.

 “Holley Tankersley brings an abiding commitment to undergraduate liberal education and community engagement. Her experience fostering graduate education in a primarily undergraduate institution, and her demonstrated ability to lead the building of an educational experience that attracts a diverse community and nurtures individual personal and professional development make her an excellent match for CSSME,” Stern said. “We look forward to her continuing that sort of leadership in her new role at The University of Tampa.”

Before Tankersley entered academia at Coastal Carolina in 2006 as an assistant professor, she served as a government consultant, generating policy analysis for the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Health and Human Services.

She has authored numerous publications and has received numerous grants and academic awards.

Leslie Jones, professor of mathematics and chair of the search committee, said Tankersley has a wealth of leadership experience and a positive energy that will serve the college well. “She is student-centered and eager to engage the community,” Jones said. “We look forward to having her at the helm.”

Tankersley earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Birmingham-Southern College, a master’s degree in public policy from Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy and a doctoral degree in political science from the University of Georgia. Additionally, Tankersley is a graduate of the HERS Bryn Mawr Summer Institute, an immersive professional development program for women leaders in higher education.


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