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Watkins-Hayes named Ford School associate dean for academic affairs

May 20, 2021

Today, the University of Michigan Board of Regents approved the appointment of Celeste Watkins-Hayes as the associate dean for academic affairs at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. Watkins-Hayes is the Jean E. Fairfax Collegiate Professor of Public Policy, a professor of sociology, and a University Diversity and Social Transformation Professor. Her three-year term as associate dean will begin August 1, 2021.

“I’m so excited that Celeste Watkins-Hayes has agreed to serve as the next associate dean for academic affairs,” says Dean Michael S. Barr. “She brings a wealth of experience to the position, a focused commitment to both scholarship and teaching, and proven effectiveness as a leader. I’m looking forward to partnering with Celeste, as well as Associate Dean Luke Shaefer in leading the school.”

Dr. Watkins-Hayes is an internationally recognized sociologist and expert on HIV/AIDS; urban poverty; social policy; and racial, class, and gender inequality. Her work illuminates the impact of the HIV epidemic on women and safety-net organizations to scholars, communities, and policymakers.

Dr. Watkins-Hayes has published two award-winning books, numerous articles in journals and edited volumes, and opinions in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Chicago Magazine, Al Jazeera English, and the Detroit Free Press. She has been widely quoted in the popular media as a national expert on social inequality, including a recent interview with The New York Times about the permanent expansion of the child tax credit in President Biden's proposed American Families Plan. 

As associate dean for academic affairs, Dr. Watkins-Hayes will strategically advance the Ford School’s curriculum and work with and support faculty and students around issues relating to the teaching mission of the school. She previously served as a department chair in the Department of African American Studies at Northwestern University and before that as the undergraduate director and graduate director for the same program.

"I'm truly honored to serve as the next Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the Ford School,” says Dr. Watkins-Hayes. “My predecessor, Paula Lantz, has done a phenomenal job in this role, and I'm so appreciative of the foundation she has laid. I look forward to receiving the baton and partnering with Dean Barr and the Ford School community to reach even higher heights."