Kevin M. Guskiewicz, a neuroscientist, academic leader and a world-renowned researcher, is the interim chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
UNC System Interim President William L. Roper appointed Guskiewicz in February 2019. In announcing Guskiewicz, Roper said he was looking for someone who could chart a course for Carolina, who was ready to serve as an active leader and who has gained the trust and support of the community.
“It is an honor to be asked to lead the nation’s first public university into the next chapter of its storied history,” Guskiewicz said. “When I became dean, I pledged to be ‘strategic, bold and student focused,’ and those imperatives will continue to guide me in this role. I am excited and energized by the possibility and promise of the things the Carolina community can accomplish together.”
Before becoming interim chancellor, Guskiewicz served as dean of the College of Arts & Sciences since January 2016, overseeing the largest academic institution at Carolina. The College has more than 17,000 undergraduate students and 2,400 graduate students and encompasses more than 70 academic departments, curricula, programs, centers and institutes.
At the College, Guskiewicz made interdisciplinary teaching and research a cornerstone of his tenure, promoting the development of courses that span disciplines across the arts and sciences. He championed the use of high-structure active learning techniques, and the University became a national leader in implementing these evidence-based, highly effective strategies. He increased experiential learning opportunities for Carolina students, such as study abroad opportunities, academic internships, hands-on research and service learning experiences. In May 2017, he secured the largest gift in the College’s history, which doubled the size of Carolina’s entrepreneurship program housed in the College. While Guskiewicz was dean, the College raised more than $400 million, well over half of its $750 million goal during the University’s current Campaign for Carolina fundraising campaign that runs until December 2022.
Under Guskiewicz’s leadership, the College also played a major role in developing and implementing the University’s five-year Quality Enhancement Plan, “Learning by Connecting, Doing and Making.” This initiative connects the arts and humanities with science courses to provide critical thinking skills that deepen students’ understanding of how science and culture are intertwined. It also increases collaborative research opportunities and broadens the University’s thriving “maker” movement. While he was dean, the College also launched the BeAM makerspace network, the hallmark of which is a state-of-the-art facility in Murray Hall. In addition, Guskiewicz also was overseeing a major revamp of Carolina’s general education curriculum – the first significant overhaul in 12 years.
Guskiewicz is a neuroscientist and a nationally recognized expert on sport-related concussions. As dean, he maintained an active research portfolio and is principle investigator or co-principle investigator on three active research grants totaling over $20 million.
His groundbreaking work has garnered numerous awards, including fellowships in the American College of Sports Medicine, the National Academy of Kinesiology and the National Athletic Trainers’ Association. His research has also influenced concussion guidelines and recommendations made by these organizations to the NCAA and the NFL.
In 2011, Guskiewicz was awarded a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship (often called a “genius grant”) for his innovative work on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of sport-related concussions. In 2013, Time magazine named him a Game Changer, one of 18 “innovators and problem-solvers that are inspiring change in America.”
A member of Carolina’s faculty since 1995, Guskiewicz is the Kenan Distinguished Professor of Exercise and Sport Science and founding director of the Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center and director of the Center for the Study of Retired Athletes. He holds appointments in the department of orthopaedics, department of physical medicine and rehabilitation, the UNC Injury Prevention Research Center and doctoral program in human movement science.
Guskiewicz earned a bachelor’s of science degree in athletic training from West Chester University, a master’s degree in science in exercise physiology/athletic training from the University of Pittsburgh and a doctorate in sports medicine from the University of Virginia.
Before becoming dean at the College, Guskiewicz was senior associate dean for the natural sciences and chair of the Department of Exercise and Sport Science in the College.