Kokobobo named dean of UL Lafayette’s College of Liberal Arts


Dr. Ani Kokobobo has been named dean of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s College of Liberal Arts. Kokobobo will assume her new role on Aug. 1.

She replaces Dr. Chad Parker, who served as the college’s interim dean after Dr. Jordan Kellman ended his tenure as dean in 2023.
Kokobobo most recently served as a professor and chair of the Department of Slavic, German, and Eurasian Studies, which is part of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at the University of Kansas.

Her dozens of administrative accomplishments and areas of focus included coordinating the merger of two academic departments; faculty, curriculum and program development; outreach to community, state partners and alumni; and large-scale fundraising efforts.

Kokobobo joined the University of Kansas in 2011, as an assistant professor, before becoming an associate professor and then a professor. Her leadership roles included heading departments, councils and centers, and directing graduate and undergraduate studies. She also served as UK’s University Senate President.

As dean of UL Lafayette’s College of Liberal Arts, Kokobobo will lead the University’s oldest college, which was established in 1921. She will also guide a college that continues to grow and evolve, said Dr. Jaimie Hebert, the University’s provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.

“Dr. Kokobobo is a dedicated educator, scholar and leader who will provide strategic guidance to strengthen the College of Liberal Arts and its longstanding reputation for academic excellence and scholarship, and whose vision will advance the college and enhance its cultural influence,” Hebert said.

Among the college’s more recent, large-scale accomplishments was the creation of its Kathleen Babineaux Blanco Public Policy Center, an independent, interdisciplinary research center that provides public policy leadership. Another significant milestone was the completion of extensive renovations to the 122-year-old J. Arthur Roy House. The 5,000-square-foot Queen Anne-style structure now houses the University’s oldest research center, the Center for Louisiana Studies.

“Liberal arts are at the core of everything and the configuration of the College of Liberal Arts – its focus on humanities and social sciences as well as its research capabilities and potential for expanding those capabilities – are among many reasons it is so strong,” Kokobobo explained.  

“A priority of mine will be thinking about ways to broaden the impact and the umbrella of the college, including through collaborations with other colleges, departments and schools across campus and with the community,” she added.

Beyond her administrative successes, Kokobobo is an accomplished researcher and prolific writer. Her books include “Sex, Gender, and Tolstoy,” “Leo Tolstoy, The Power of Dissent,” “The Tolstoy Marriage,” and “Russian Grotesque Realism: The Great Reforms and Gentry Decline.”

Kokobobo holds a Ph.D. in Russian Literature from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in Russian Studies and Classical Studies from Dartmouth College.

Photo caption: Dr. Ani Kokobobo is the new dean of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s College of Liberal Arts. Submitted photo