Leading from the Heart
Meet Deanna Dannels, the new dean of NC State’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Your college’s new dean, Deanna Dannels, describes herself as a Broadway geek, a fitness enthusiast, a chocoholic. She’s also a strong proponent of “heart work.”
“A lot of what we engage with is intellectual, the work of the mind,” she explains. “Heart work is equally important. It’s how we bring our values and our empathy to challenging conversations. It’s the work that feeds our souls.
“Whether we’re teachers or administrators, students, or alumni who have gone on to careers far and wide, we all have a role to play in bringing heart work — which is also hard work — to the fore. We do our heart work in our social interactions, as we manage conflict, as we contribute to our intellectual and civic communities, and as we create meaning-filled lives.
I’m so proud to lead this college.
“I’m so proud to lead this college, and to work alongside such talented faculty and staff as we prepare our students and engage our alumni in this critically important work.”
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.
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.