SALT LAKE CITY — The University of Utah has named Ruth V. Watkins as the new senior vice president for academic affairs.

Watkins has been serving as the dean for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois as well as professor of speech and hearing science, psychology and linguistics. She was selected after a national search and fills the post vacated by current U. President David Pershing.

“Ruth is a superb administrator with a strong academic background including major external research funding and a focus on the undergraduate experience," Pershing said. “I am confident her collaborative leadership style and commitment to providing exceptional educational opportunities will enable her to enjoy continued success here in Utah.”

Watkins joined the faculty at Illinois as an assistant professor in 1993. She served as associate dean for academic and research affairs in the College of Applied Health Sciences from 2000-2003, and as associate provost from 2003-2006 and vice provost 2006-2008.

“I’m honored to be joining a Pac-12 university that is growing in stature nationally and internationally,” said Watkins.