Dr. Stephanie Shonekan will be the next dean for the University of Maryland’s arts and humanities college, according to a Tuesday email from Provost Jennifer King Rice.
The arts and humanities college announced in December that Dr. Bonnie Thornton Dill would be stepping down as dean by June after nearly 11 years.
Shonekan, who will begin her role on July 1, currently serves as the senior associate dean of the College of Arts and Science at the University of Missouri, where she’s a professor of music and Black studies. She’s also worked at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst as a professor and department chair, and previously was a professor at Columbia College Chicago.
Shonekan graduated from the University of Jos in Nigeria with a bachelor’s degree in English, before getting her master’s degree in English at the University of Ibadan, also in Nigeria. She then received a doctorate in folklore and ethnomusicology from Indiana University Bloomington.
As an ethnomusicologist — a person who studies music from different cultures across the world — Shonekan has written three books. One of those books, Black Lives Matter and Music, discusses how music is integral to the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States.
Shonekan co-founded the “Race and the American Story” project, a series of conversational initiatives at colleges and in communities, after the 2014 police shooting of Michael Brown to educate individuals about race in America.
Shonekan has also won numerous awards, including being named a Teaching Excellence finalist at the University of Missouri.
“[Shonekan] brings a wealth of experience advocating for the representation of arts and humanities, driving innovation in teaching and learning, and advancing work to create an inclusive culture in her college and beyond,” Rice wrote in the email.