The Dean's Office Team

The School of Liberal Arts is comprised of 19 academic departments and undergraduate programs, 4 graduate and professional programs, 2 academic centers, and one institute. The Dean's Office provides support and oversight to approximately 150 faculty and staff members. Each member of the Dean’s Office has a particular portfolio of responsibilities, outlined briefly below. Together, we function as a tight-knit team: our areas of responsibility and expertise sometimes overlap, and we take a highly collaborative approach to much of what we do. Ask any of us for guidance or help and we’ll be sure to assist and connect you appropriately! 

Sheila Hassell Hughes, Dean

Sheila - Headshot





Sheila has an M.A. in English (University of Toronto) and a Ph.D. in Women’s Studies (Emory University), and was a Professor of English at the University of Dayton for 17 years before joining Saint Mary’s in 2015. As Dean of SOLA, she is responsible for providing strategic leadership and oversight for all academic and operational aspects of the School of Liberal Arts. Hiring, supporting, and review of faculty for tenure and promotion are essential aspects of her work. She also works closely with the Associate and Assistant Deans, as well as with department chairs and program directors, in leading and supporting programs, faculty, and staff across the Liberal Arts. The Dean also engages directly with many external partners and stakeholders, working closely with the School of Liberal Arts Dean’s Advisory Board and with partners in Advancement, Enrollment Management and Communication, Student Life, and other areas of the College. 


Shawny Anderson, Associate Dean

Shawny has a Ph.D. in Communication (Rhetoric and Cultural Studies) from Purdue University.  She is affiliated with the Department of Communication; the Justice, Community and Leadership program; the Ethnic Studies program; and the Women’s and Gender Studies program. She has served as Associate Dean of the School of Liberal Arts since January 2002.

Her portfolio of responsibilities in the SOLA Dean’s Office includes these primary areas:

  • Academic enrollment management; 
  • Program development/support; 
  • Tenure track faculty recruitment, hiring, and mentoring;
  • Student concerns and appeals;
  • Facilities strategy;
  • Planning for inclusive excellence;
  • Special initiatives.


Jennifer Kulbeck, Assistant Dean

Kulbeck - Headshot

Jen has an M.A. in English, an M.F.A. in Creative Writing, and extensive experience in higher education administration, particularly in the area of graduate and professional program enrollment and management. She has served as Assistant Dean of the School of Liberal Arts since January 2015. 

Her portfolio of responsibilities in the SOLA Dean’s Office includes these primary areas:

  • Budget oversight;
  • Graduate and Professional Studies program oversight and development;
  • Academic workload management;
  • Compliance and risk management;
  • Staff hiring and development;
  • Adjunct faculty recruitment and administrative oversight;
  • Facilities project management.


Karen Chew, Senior Administrative Assistant

Karen has an M.P.A. and a background in local government, and she has been at Saint Mary’s since June 2015. Karen is responsible for providing administrative assistance to the Dean, Assistant Dean, and Associate Dean, and some of her primary responsibilities include: 

  • Managing the Dean's schedule and calendar; 
  • Assisting with the preparation of contracts and payment requests;
  • Maintenance and development of administrative records;
  • Coordinating the semi-annual SOLA alumni newsletter;
  • Coordinating meetings and events;
  • General office operations and reception;
  • Preparing minutes for committees chaired by the Dean.