Founding dean of the College of Humanities & Earth and Social Sciences named

Christopher R. Boyer has been named the founding dean of the College of Humanities & Earth and Social Sciences at UNC Charlotte following a national search. His appointment was approved during the April 25 meeting of the University’s Board of Trustees.

Boyer will join UNC Charlotte effective July 1 from Northern Arizona University, where he currently holds the position of dean of the College of Arts and Letters.

“Chris is an experienced academic leader with a diverse portfolio of scholarship rooted in the connection between history and the environment,” said Jennifer Troyer, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. “His experience as a champion for interdisciplinary approaches will complement our strength in the area of cross-disciplinary collaborations and support our growth in teaching and research across our institution and for all disciplines within CHESS. We are thrilled to welcome him to Charlotte.”

Boyer is a seasoned academic leader with a decade of administrative experience at large, public research universities dedicated to student access and service to their regions. He has held the position of dean of the College of Arts and Letters at Northern Arizona University for the past four years, where worked to rebuild the college, promoted a public-facing agenda in the arts and humanities and created initiatives to support student success.

“I was drawn to this position because I see the tremendous potential in the disciplines of CHESS to provide insight and research into the great challenges for humanity in our time. I firmly believe in the mission of public universities to provide access and mobility for students, and I’m eager to join the incredible work happening at UNC Charlotte and take part in that mission,” said Boyer.

Prior to his appointment at NAU, Boyer was professor and chair of the Department of History at the University of Illinois Chicago, where he held an appointment in Latin American and Latino Studies. An environmental historian of modern Mexico and Latin America, Boyer’s scholarship investigates the social history of forest management in Mexico between 1880 and 2000, with special emphasis on the experiences of indigenous communities in the north and west of the country.

Boyer’s leadership extends internationally and includes serving on the editorial board for the journal The Americas since 2018 and on the executive committee for the Conference of Mexican and International Historians for 10 years. He served on the Council of the American Historical Association for six years.

He has won multiple teaching awards and has held several fellowships including the National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for University Teachers. Boyer is the author of many journal articles and books, and his most recent work was the winner of “Best Book in Social Sciences” from the Latin American Studies Association, Mexico Section, and winner of the Charles A. Weyerhaeuser book award from the Forest History Society.

Boyer earned a bachelor’s degree in comparative literature from Dartmouth College, a master’s degree in political science from the University of Pittsburgh and a Ph.D. in history from the University of Chicago. He is fluent in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese.

Boyer will move to Charlotte with his wife of 35 years, Amy Shannon. They have one son and a daughter-in-law who currently reside in Colorado. Boyer says he is excited to live closer to the Outer Banks and to explore new trails in the Piedmont as an avid hiker.