Western Carolina University Provost Angi Brenton announced on Wednesday, that Richard Starnes is the new permanent dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Starnes, who has been serving as interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences since July, is an associate professor of history and former head of WCU’s Department of History. A member of the WCU history department faculty since 2000, Starnes earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history from Western Carolina, in 1992 and 1994 respectively, before earning his doctorate from Auburn University in 1999. The appointment of Starnes is the result of a national search for a permanent dean of the college by a committee led by Sean O’Connell, head of the WCU Department of Biology. The College of Arts and Sciences is WCU’s largest college, consisting of 11 academic departments, nearly 200 faculty and some 2,000 students. The appointment will not be final until approved by the WCU Board of Trustees and the University of North Carolina Board of Governors later this spring.