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Jose B. Fernandez, a professor of history and foreign languages, will become the first Hispanic dean at the University of Central Florida. UCF appointed Fernandez to be dean of the new College of Arts and Humanities effective fall 2006. He has served as associate dean of the former College of Arts and Sciences since 1999.

Kathryn Seidel, who has been dean of Arts and Sciences for 10 years, is resigning her position effective Aug. 7 and plans to return to teaching.

UCF Provost Terry Hickey says the advance appointment paves the way for a smooth transition.

"Jose Fernandez brings a wealth of experience to this leadership position," says Hickey. "He has the skills required to lead the college through the transition and beyond."

The new college was created in October when it was announced that the College of Arts and Sciences would be divided to form the College of Arts and Humanities and the College of Sciences.

The nearly 14,000 Arts and Sciences majors and 550 faculty members will be split about evenly between the two new colleges. Peter Panousis, who has headed UCF's Institute for Economic Competitiveness, was named interim dean of Sciences.

Fernandez received his bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in Spanish at Florida State University, where he also studied history. Before joining UCF in 1982, Fernandez was a Spanish professor and chair of the Department of Foreign Languages at the University of Colorado.

In 2001, Fernandez received the Pegasus Professor Award, UCF's highest faculty honor for extraordinary teaching, research and service.

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