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Meet the Dean

Meet Deanna Dannels, dean of NC State’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Dean Dannels has been a professor of communication at NC State since 1999. She was named dean in July 2021, following a nationwide search. Before her appointment, she served as the college’s associate dean of academic affairs for six years. She previously held other leadership positions in the college, including as director of graduate programs in the Department of Communication. 

Dannels loves “talking teaching,” which is her area of scholarship. “For my entire career, I’ve thought of — and talked and taught about — teaching as ‘heart work,’” she says. “I believe teaching and learning happen everywhere. And it’s all heart work.”

Among the books she’s written is Eight Essential Questions Teachers Ask: A Guidebook for Communicating with Students, aimed at training and developing teachers. It’s full of recommendations and best practices for new teachers. 

Dannels holds a B.A. in communication from Gonzaga University, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in communication from the University of Utah.

Five Facts About The Dean

  1. She enjoys exercising (a lot!), and has transformed her garage into a home gym. She knows about running the distance: she has completed six marathons and 15 half marathons.
  2. She’s an avid fan of Star Wars and Star Trek, and finds life lessons in all of it. So, in addition to NC State’s “think and do” mantra, you may hear her inner Yoda come out with, “Do. Or do not. There is no try.”
  3. She’s a self-proclaimed Broadway geek. And she knows all the lyrics.
  4. She’s a huge NC State fan, but don’t ask her to choose between the Wolfpack and her Gonzaga Bulldogs.
  5. If you ever need chocolate, visit the dean. She’s always got some, and she’ll always share.

The Dean’s Board

Dean’s Board members promote the welfare of our college through advocacy, fundraising and service. Through their involvement and engagement, they advocate for the humanities and social sciences at NC State, across North Carolina and beyond.

The NC State belltower, lit red