Annmarie Caño, associate provost for faculty development and faculty success at Wayne State University in Detroit, will begin her position as dean of Gonzaga University’s College of Arts & Sciences on July 1. Her appointment was a unanimous decision, according to Gonzaga News Service.
Caño has vast experience working in leadership and scholarly advising.
Once she completes the 2019-20 academic year, she will travel to Spokane with her family to join the GU community.
Deena González, GU senior provost and vice president, said Caño is a well-practiced leader and has a manner and demeanor students will find helpful in their educational experience.
“I love learning about the wonderful ways people are contributing to knowledge and creativity across campus, and I get a lot of energy from helping people find connection and opportunities to shine,” Caño said in an email. “And this thread of connection, peacemaking and appreciating difference carries into my administrative work.”
González said there were a record number of applicants for the position. The hiring process was conducted last February in partnership with the search firm Academic Search. The common and confidential site helps universities and organizations filter and find the best applicants for an open position.
GU narrowed its search to 12 candidates, who were then interviewed on campus. GU’s senior leaders read and reviewed materials, and had extensive conversations to “score” the applicants and arrive at an unanimous consensus.
“The process included a lot of conversations with people at Gonzaga, asking questions, weighing information and discussions with my family and trusted colleagues back home,” Caño said.
Caño stood out to the senior leaders during this rigorous process.
“She is an eloquent spokesperson for the liberal arts, for collaboration and partnership across divisions, for student success; she is highly engaged by Jesuit mission, values, and our Catholic, humanistic identity as a University,” said González in an email.
Caño holds GU’s mission statement close to her heart and to her administrative work. It is what made her want to apply to work here, live here and be a part of GU culture, she said.
“Gonzaga was really attractive because of the mission to educate the whole person – body, mind and spirit,” Caño said. “I was impressed with the stories of students and faculty, their appreciation for the development of the whole person — body, mind and spirit.”
Family was an important influence on Caño’s journey to this position with GU. Her father immigrated to the United States from Spain when he was a teenager and her mother emigrated from Puerto Rico when she was just 12-years-old. Caño’s father was a bus driver without a high school degree and her mother was a homemaker with only a high school degree. Living in the boroughs of New York City, in Brooklyn and Queens, Caño and her two older sisters were raised to pursue higher education.
“[Caño’s parents] were champions of education and believed that college could open doors for their daughters,” Caño said.
Caño received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Princeton University. She then went on to earn her master’s and doctoral degrees in psychology from Stony Brook University. As a first-generation college student and a proud Latina, Caño sought out and took advantage of opportunities that she could find.
With ample experience and involvement in higher-education, Jesuit mission values and scholarly relations, Caño has so much to offer the university, and GU’s senior leaders are more than excited to have her here.
According to the Gonzaga News Service, Caño has over 70 publications and worked on four grants with the National Institutes of Health as the principal investigator.
“She brings a dynamic method or way of bridging the many fields that are included in the College of Arts & Sciences,” Gonzalez said. “She attended an undergraduate university that excels in the liberal arts, and so the humanities, arts and natural and life sciences will all find her able to understand their perspectives on important curricular decisions, on concerns about resources and about higher education.”
Looking into the next academic year, Caño is already planning what the next move is for GU to embody humanistic and Jesuit education.
“When I begin in July, I plan to do a great deal of listening to a number of different groups of people: faculty, staff, students and their families, alumni and community members,” Caño said. “I want to hear what people love about the College of Arts and Sciences and what is working well. I’ll want to know how we can do more of the good that is already happening. I’m also interested in hearing how we can work together to remove barriers so that more people can thrive at Gonzaga and the College of Arts and Sciences. Then we can roll up our sleeves together to make great things happen.”
Aside from her career and family life, Caño has many interesting and fun hobbies that students can relate with. She loves getting her hands dirty, whether that be gardening, working with clay or baking bread. Caño also has been collecting cacti for all of her life; she has a total of 72 cacti.
“I can also play a mean game of Pokémon, which I learned from my 8 1/2-year-old son,” Caño said.
Caño said that she is excited to meet students and make connections when she gets here in July and gets to interact with students in the fall. She is here to be a scholarly leader, but also to be in connection with students on campus.
“I love Gonzaga’s commitment to academic excellence combined with a commitment to service and justice,” Caño said. I’m proud to join Gonzaga faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members in their work to make this a better world.”