By Joseph Hartman

Sue Kim, who joined UMass Lowell in 2011 and has served as associate dean of undergraduate studies in the college since 2018, has been appointed as the next dean of the College of Fine Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences (FAHSS), effective Sept. 1.

Throughout her tenure and across the positions she has held at UMass Lowell, Sue has been a fierce and ever-present advocate for students, especially those who come from underrepresented and under-resourced backgrounds.

“Students and faculty across the College of Fine Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences will benefit from a leader with Sue’s passion, intellect and commitment to elevating fields of study that advance our humanity and deepen our ties to one another,” said Chancellor Julie Chen. “There’s no one better to lead such an integral part of UMass Lowell and our community.”

She has shown outstanding leadership in scholarship and community outreach, including overseeing the establishment of the Southeast Asian Digital Archive, which preserves and shares historical materials related to Southeast Asians in the Greater Lowell region. As co-director of the Center for Asian American Studies at UMass Lowell, Sue has provided strategic leadership for initiatives that promote community-engaged research and education about Asian Americans, particularly Southeast Asian Americans in New England.

Sue co-led the effort to have UMass Lowell federally designated as an Asian American Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution (AANAPISI), which resulted in over $4 million in grants for community-engaged research and student engagement.

“I’m thrilled to continue working with my talented colleagues to conduct world-class research and create high caliber creative work, while also providing a top-tier education for our students in the College of Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences,” Sue said. “FAHSS has transformed and flourished in the last decade and, as dean, I look forward to continuing our progress.”

Under her leadership as associate dean for undergraduate studies, the six-year graduation rates in FAHSS increased from 53% in 2018 to 67% in 2022. She has also led curriculum innovation and expansion.

Sue oversaw the development of several new undergraduate programs, including minors in Architectural Studies, Race & Ethnic Studies and Video Game Studies, as well as a new Digital Media interdisciplinary major and a Bachelor of Science in Quantitative Economics.

She expanded the interdisciplinary Bachelor of Liberal Arts major, including the hiring of the program’s first full-time faculty, and introduced new concentrations in areas such as American Studies, Criminal Justice and Graphic Design.

"As we looked at candidates from across the nation, it quickly became clear that no candidate could match Sue's combination of leadership experience, scholarly qualifications, and demonstrated commitment to the Lowell, UMass and FAHSS community," said Julie Nash, vice provost and search committee co-chair. 

Sue holds a Ph.D. and an M.A. in English from Cornell University and a B.A. in English from Dartmouth College. Prior to joining UMass Lowell, she served as a faculty member in the English department at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

I want to thank search committee co-chairs Noureddine Melikechi and Julie Nash and the entire search committee for your efforts in conducting a rigorous national search. And thank you once again to outgoing Dean Luis Falcón for a dozen years of outstanding leadership and a legacy of transformation that I am confident Sue Kim will continue to advance.