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College of Liberal Arts Dean Diehl Announces Retirement

April 9, 2018

Dear faculty and staff,

I am writing to let you know that Randy Diehl is planning to retire as dean of the College of Liberal Arts and as professor in the Department of Psychology effective Aug. 31, 2019.

A member of the UT community for more than 40 years, Dean Diehl joined the psychology faculty in 1975. In his distinguished career as a scholar, teacher, and researcher, he is regarded as a leader in the study of how humans perceive speech. A member of the university’s Center for Perceptual Systems, he also headed the psychology department’s Diehl Lab. He taught and inspired hundreds of students, served as chair of the Department of Psychology from 1995 to 1999, and has been serving in his current role as dean since 2007.

President Fenves shared this about Dean Diehl's contributions to UT Austin.

As a scholar, educator and intellectual, Randy Diehl has embodied the values and aspirations of The University of Texas for more than 40 years. His career in the social sciences and his lifelong commitment to the humanities and liberal arts led to his success as dean since 2007, elevating the College of Liberal Arts and the entire university. Randy led the graduation task force that set UT on the course to our highest graduation rates in its history. He secured transformative gifts that have allowed the college to recruit top faculty and increase excellence across the disciplines. And Randy spearheaded the construction of a new building that modernized student learning space and fostered collaboration. Randy has been an invaluable colleague and friend whose legacy will endure for generations. We will miss him greatly.

His accomplishments and contributions are too numerous to list, but these are a few I would like to highlight.

  • In 2011, President Bill Powers tapped Dean Diehl to chair the university’s landmark Task Force on Undergraduate Graduation Rates, which proposed more than 60 recommendations to help the university better serve undergraduates. The outcomes from these recommendations laid the foundation for the dramatic increases in graduation rates the university has experienced over the past five years.
  • He championed efforts as dean to build the new College of Liberal Arts building on the east mall. This created dedicated space for students in the college to meet and study, and for faculty in the humanities, languages, and social sciences to conduct collaborative, cutting-edge research.
  • During his tenure as dean, the number of programs and departments with national prominence has increased considerably. Of the five UT Austin graduate specialties ranked No. 1 by U.S. News & World Report, two are in the College of Liberal Arts— Latin American history and Sociology of Population.
  • Improving diversity among faculty and students has been a focus of Dean Diehl. Under his leadership, the college created two new departments: the Department of African and African Diaspora Studies and its research unit, the Institute for Urban Policy Research and Analysis, as well as the Department of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies with its research unit, the Latino Research Initiative.
  • During his tenure as chair of the Department of Psychology, he led a period of considerable expansion that included the construction of the state-of-the-art Sarah M. and Charles E. Seay Building.
  • As a scholar and teacher, Dean Diehl received multiple research grants from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, as well as several prestigious university teaching awards. He has published more than 70 academic papers and articles, and has served as a visiting faculty member at universities around the world.

Leading a college as large and diverse as the College of Liberal Arts requires an unwavering commitment to our students, faculty, staff, and community members. Dean Diehl has proven himself to be such a leader time and time again. I deeply value his partnership as a colleague and his friendship as someone who understands and cares about our community.

Please join me in celebrating Dean Diehl's accomplishments and thanking him for more than four decades of extraordinary service to the university.


Maurie McInnis
Executive Vice President and Provost
The University of Texas at Austin