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Kenro Kusumi appointed ASU senior vice provost, dean of The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Will lead the largest and most complex college at ASU, serving more than 31,000 students

Dean Kenro Kusumi wears a suit and poses for a portrait photo with buildings and trees in the background.

Kenro Kusumi

March 14, 2024

Kenro Kusumi, a professor of life sciences and dean of natural sciences, has been named university senior vice provost and dean of The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University. 

“Dean Kusumi has served ASU in a variety of leadership roles that will help him to engage with students, faculty across all of the schools and departments, and other deans and leaders to envision a 21st-century model of liberal arts education and research,” said Nancy Gonzales, executive vice president and university provost. 

“With a deep understanding of ASU’s entrepreneurial culture and mission and The College’s expansive portfolio, he will be ready on day one to further enhance The College’s position as a national leader in liberal arts education.”

About The College

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences was established in 1953 and is the largest college on the ASU campus, with more than 31,000 students and 1,200 faculty.

In his role as senior vice provost and dean, Kusumi will oversee the liberal arts and sciences’ 21 interdisciplinary schools and departments, and over 50 research centers and institutes. 

The College’s distinguished faculty includes 18 American Academy of the Arts and Sciences members, 14 National Academy of Sciences members, four Pulitzer Prize winners, four MacArthur Fellows and two Nobel Prize laureates. 

Kusumi’s appointment will begin July 1. He assumes the leadership role held previously by Patrick Kenney, executive vice provost and foundation professor in The College.

“I have worked with Dean Kusumi for over a decade in The College Dean’s Office," Kenney said. "He has extensive experience across a range of issues the Dean’s Office is engaged in on a daily basis.

“I have every confidence he will be a strong leader for The College and advance successfully the key missions of The College: student success, research and scholarship, community engagement and philanthropic endeavors.”

Kusumi is a genome biologist and uses research to help conserve and study the functional adaptations of reptiles. He has sequenced the genomes of the threatened Mojave desert tortoise as a tool for conservation efforts and led the first genome-scale analysis of accelerated evolution associated with the anole lizard’s functional adaptations. 

He joined ASU’s School of Life Sciences in 2006 and held several leadership positions in The College before being appointed director of the School of Life Sciences in 2019. Kusumi went on to become the dean of natural sciences in The College in 2021, where he oversaw a diverse student population of over 16,000, taught by nearly 500 dedicated faculty across six academic units. The natural sciences play a critical role in ASU research innovation with more than $132 million in research expenditures in FY23.

“My life has been shaped and immeasurably enriched by my liberal arts education. I am excited to have this opportunity to advance the work of my dedicated colleagues in the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences,” Kusumi said. 

“This is a unique opportunity to prepare students with the critical thinking and problem-solving skills of a liberal arts and sciences education, transform our curriculum to promote student success, and advance ASU’s research and scholarship to address the challenges of the 21st century, as outlined in the ASU Charter.”

Kusumi received his Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University in biochemical sciences and his PhD in biology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he carried out research on the Human Genome Project at the Whitehead Institute. He received postdoctoral training as a Hitchings-Elion Fellow of the Burroughs Wellcome Fund at the National Institute for Medical Research in London, where he worked to identify the genetic causes of congenital forms of scoliosis.

Kusumi was previously on the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where he served as director of pediatric orthopedic research. He was a founding faculty member at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix in partnership with Arizona State University from 2006 to 2010, and he is adjunct faculty at the Translational Genomics Research Institute in Phoenix.

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