2019-2020 Annual Report

University of Cincinnati College of Arts and Sciences

Message from the Dean

Valerio C. Ferme, Dean, McMicken College of Arts and Sciences

My first year as a dean has been eventful, to say the least. I came on board in July 2019 with the goal of moving the college past its fiscal woes. By the end of the academic year, that concern was in everyone’s rearview mirror (we did succeed in achieving positive revenue goals and reducing some of the deficit), as we weathered a complete shift to remote instruction and budgetary and staffing losses; and repositioned ourselves to re-envision our role as a College of Arts and Sciences in the 21st century.

Even with the coronavirus altering our learning environment for the foreseeable future, AY 2020 was a banner year for the College. We could not achieve our goals without the complete dedication of faculty, staff, students and, equally importantly, our alumni and donors. Indeed, our donors came through superbly in this year of crisis, by allowing us to exceed our fundraising goals by raising more than $13M. Particularly prominent were gifts to endow the newly named Niehoff Center for Film Studies; and a foundation’s significant commitment to solidify previous investments in the English department that will set it on a path toward excellence for the foreseeable future, with new support directed toward graduate studies, the staffing of the Elliston Poetry Room archives, and the journals and publications in creative writing. Equally important, and a driving strategy for the college this past year and into the future, have been investments in scholarship and fundraising efforts for 1st-Generation and underrepresented students, which continue to drive our goal to better support local students in alignment with CPS Strong and Inclusion initiatives in the presidential Next Lives Here mission. Finally, I would be remiss not to mention the generous response in helping the college face the impact of the pandemic on our budgets by alumna Darlene Walley, who turned on a dime to provide $500K of support to the Dean’s Fund discretionary needs.  

Academically and in research, we continue to diversify. We have launched a new major in Public Relations out of the Department of Communication, and an interdisciplinary major in Latin American Studies. New certificates are also being approved, and our graduate programs are working on creating new interdisciplinary tracks to diversify our students’ opportunities on the market. The sponsorship of the Taft Research Center has helped us solidify support for a variety of new research centers, such as the Center for the Public Engagement with Science, The Cincinnati Project, and the new Center for Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation; while the Office of Research is supporting the launch of the Institute for Research in Sensing. It gives me also great pleasure to announce that Dr. Richard Harknett in Political Science has been a key figure in bringing the Ohio Cyber Range Initiative to our University. All these initiatives support our commitment to research excellence.

Equally exciting, despite the concerns raised by the current pandemic, are the opportunities to re-envision who we are. As dean, I have convened a Task Force with representation from every group and governing body in the College. The year-long task we have set for ourselves is to redefine our core mission and find new opportunities in each of these four areas: 1) College Central Values; 2) Entrepreneurial Growth; 3) Structures; and 4) Futures. As I said last year, in these difficult times the College must continue to message internally, but also for external constituents, that the Arts and Sciences continue to provide the foundations for training creative critical thinkers and an adaptable and engaged citizenry. 

I hope everyone will enjoy reading about our recent successes. In a time of crises, we hope that sharing about these accomplishments encourages all about the good that is at the heart of our educational enterprise. You have been and continue to be—as alumni, faculty, staff, or students—what propels us forward into future opportunities.

I wish all of you and your families continued health and happiness.

Dean Ferme Signature

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Valerio Ferme Dean,
UC College of Arts and Sciences


2020 Faculty Awards

2020 Inductees — Fellows of the Graduate School

  • Stephen P. Depoe, Professor and Department Head, Department of Communication
  • Anne Sisson Runyan, Professor, Department of Political Sciences; Faculty Affiliate, Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies
  • Heather Zoller, Professor, Department of Communication

2019 Alumni Awards

  • Volunteer of the Year
    William C. Judd
    , Biology and Biochemistry '14 
  • Outstanding Young Alumni Award
    Maurice B. Stewart
    , Organizational Leadership ’16 
  • Distinguished Alumni Award
    John S. Michelman, PhD, Chemistry ’60 

Read more about the 2019 A&S Alumni Award Winners and their contributions to the college.

Want to nominate an outstanding A&S alumnus for recognition? Fellow alumni and faculty may nominate an alumnus for recognition here.

Advising Awards

  • Emily Cloud, Senior Academic Advisor
    Sarah Grant Barber Award for Outstanding Professional Advisor; Advising Community Rising Star Award
  • Gail Kiley, Assistant Academic Director
    Advising Community Great Colleague Award
  • Loren Papin, Senior Academic Advisor
    Sarah Grant Barber Award for Outstanding Professional Advisor; Advising Community Exceptional Initiative Award
  • Anne Rohlfer, Senior Academic Advisor
    Advising Community Great Colleague Award

Featured Gifts and Awards

  • The Niehoff Center for Film and Media Studies, $2.8 million gift from A&S graduates Peter and Betsy Niehoff, A&S ’09, MA ’14, PhD, ’20; and ’11, respectively, to extend the curriculum and impact of the center.
  • Ohio Cyber Range Institute, nearly $1 million grant from the Ohio Department of Higher Education, to further develop a cyber range to defend Ohio from cyberattacks, and building the region as a hub fpr cyber security talent.
  • A&S Dean’s Discretionary Fund, $500,000 from A&S graduate Darlene Walley, PhD ’84, to help the college navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. 

To view additional awards and generous gifts to the college during 2019-2020, visit New Grant, Scholarship and Fellowship Funds.

Academic Excellence

Bearcat Promise. Faculty Investment. Staff Enrichment.

In support of UC’s Next Lives Here initiative, we seek to manifest Academic Excellence in everything we do, from supporting our award-winning faculty to investing in our staff to fulfilling the Bearcat Promise—helping students realize their ideal future.

All stories courtesy of UC News

Alena George

"UC graduate parlays custom curriculum, co-op into dream job,”
by Sally Bishop, A&S student writer for UC News

Earlier this year, A&S graduate Alena George found herself in an enviable place despite a global pandemic that pummeled the job market. She had her degree in one hand and a job offer from P&G in the other. George attributes her success in part to the Communication Department’s co-op …


Aerial photo/Denitsa Nenova/UC Classics

"UC discovers princely tombs near ‘Griffin Warrior’,”
by Michael Miller, UC News

Archaeologists with the University of Cincinnati have discovered two Bronze Age tombs containing a trove of engraved jewelry and artifacts that promise to unlock secrets about life in ancient Greece ...

“International Media: UC archaeology discovery in Greece goes global,”
by Michael Miller, UC News

Pam Rogers and the 2019-2020 success coaches

“Inside Higher Ed profiles UC’s College Possible coaching program,”
by Rachel Richardson, UC News

Inside Higher Ed profiled UC as the first institution in Ohio to launch the Catalyze program, an initiative of College Possible, which helps low-income students in college through an intensive curriculum of coaching and support …

The ancient city of Tikal in northern Guatemala

The ancient city of Tikal in northern Guatemala. Photo/Jimmy Baum/Unsplash

“Haaretz: UC sheds light on environmental collapse,”
by Michael Miller, UC News

Haaretz and other international news media examined a study by University of Cincinnati researchers on water pollution in ancient Maya reservoirs in northern Guatemala. The Israeli daily newspaper suggested UC's research could inform modern threats …  

Urban Impact

Urban Futures. Urban Health. CPS Strong. 

As an urban university, we seek to support our local and global community through collaborations and partnerships rooted in real-world learning, research, scholarship and creative endeavors that strengthen us all. 

All stories courtesy of UC News

Andie Anderson working with the CANS program

Photo/Joseph Fuqua II/UC Creative + Brand

“Good Neighbors, Better Partners: UC, Cincinnati Public Schools work together to create something special at a new school,”
By Matt Koesters, UC News

A chorus of excited greetings reverberates through the kindergarten classroom as the teaching interns walk through the door. The children gather around the UC pair as they begin the children’s final Spanish lesson of the semester a welcome song, “Hola Hola” …

UC students in the College of Arts & Sciences provide job coaching help to patients at the Center for Addiction Treatment. The students help patients write resumes and cover letters, fill out applications and provide interviewing skills.

Photo/Colleen Kelley/UC Creative Services

“UC students provide job coaching for people in recovery,”
by Michael Miller, UC News

Riley Jerow, a UC student, sat across a table from three patients at the Center for Addiction Treatment who had little in common apart from their desire to get better. Jerow is taking part in a new UC service-learning project in which students create a curriculum designed to help people in recovery …  

Two female students look through the contents of a cardboard box

“A&S students aid Cincinnati’s Hispanic immigrant community with healthcare translation services,”
by Tawney Beans, A&S student writer for UC News

The language barrier in healthcare and other social services can cause non-English speakers to miss potentially life-or-death information. This issue is being tackled head-on by UC’s College of Arts & Sciences (A&S) with a new certificate program …

Innovation Agenda

1819 Innovation Hub. Co-Op 2.0. Inclusive Excellence.

Innovation lies at the heart of all we do. It leads us to push boundaries in academics, research, co-op opportunities and inclusive excellence—all with an eye on cultivating a culture designed to advance and enrich our community and beyond. 

All stories courtesy of UC News

Littisha A. Bates, PhD, is the recipient of the Faculty Senate Exemplary Service to the University Award.

“Littisha Bates named to A&S inclusive excellence leadership post,”
by Anne Bowling for UC News

Associate professor of Sociology Littisha Bates has been named the inaugural Associate Dean for Inclusive Excellence and Community Partnerships for UC’s College of Arts and Sciences. Bates was named to the post as part of the college’s continuing efforts to promote an inclusive environment among …

Student standing in front of Disney Logo in california

“UC intern program gives students hands-on career experience,”
by Benjamin Harrison, A&S student writer for UC News

Among the millions who have loved classics such as "Mary Poppins" or "Mulan," A&S student Henry Whitaker was one of the lucky few to land an internship with the LA-based Walt Disney Pictures, getting at professional taste of interning with a prestigious international company … 

Mosquito on blue fabric

“UC biologist Joshua Benoit helps P&G test its pest control research,”
by Michael Miller, UC News

P&G turned to UC's College of Arts and Sciences for expertise in testing and launching its line of pest-control products called Zevo. UC associate professor Joshua Benoit studies invertebrates such as ticks, bedbugs and flies in his biology lab. He interest in insects has literally taken him to the ends of the Earth – Antarctica – where he studied …

McMicken Hall

“A&S releases statement on equity and inclusion,”
by Anne Bowling for UC News

Since March our lives have been dramatically changed. The coronavirus first, the economic crisis that ensued and finally the protests that denounce the repeated abuse of Black American citizens have laid bare the structural and systemic injustices that continue to impede our progress as a nation; a nation whose foundational motto ...

A&S by the Numbers

Despite Challenges, the Numbers Add Up to Success for A&S

In many ways, 2019-20 academic year was a banner year for A&S. Contributions from generous donors surpassed all years past, and our enrollment numbers held strong in spite of COVID-19. The numbers bear this out. What is more difficult to quantify, but no less compelling, is the spirit of the students, faculty and staff who pulled together—in the true meaning of  Juncta Juvant—to help us achieve our goals, and fulfill our mission.

Fall 2020
  • Total A&S Enrollment (Undergraduate and Graduate): 8,516 
    •  % International Students: 4.8%
    •  % In-state Students: 79%
    • % Underrepresented Minorities: 19.7%

Top 5 majors: 

  • Biology
  • Communication
  • Exploratory Studies
  • Neuroscience
  • Psychology


Giving and Donor Support in Gifts and Pledges

Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we were able to continue to fund the A&S mission during a year of unprecedented challenges. We are very grateful.

  • Total Dollars Raised: $13,188,659
    • Unrestricted Support: $1,320,822 (10%)
    • Scholarships and Fellowships: $3,320,256 (25.2%)
    • Program Enhancements: $7,525,431 (57.1%)
    • Professorships: $1,002,932 (7.6%)
  • Total Donors: 1,451
  • Scholarship aid awarded: $1,669,862 (AY 19-20)


  • FY20 was the College of Arts & Sciences' highest proposal submission year with 233 and over $68M in requested funding College-wide.
  • A&S received $10,282,255 in external funding during FY20 in the form of 142 awards, which is above our annual average which has been $9.2M over past 7 years.