Benjamin Withers

  • Dean



207 Catt
2224 Osborn Dr
Ames, IA 50011-4009


Benjamin C. Withers, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, oversees the most academically diverse college at Iowa State University. With 21 academic departments, one professional school, over 50 undergraduate majors, and more than 20 cross-disciplinary programs, the college is a cornerstone of nearly every major offered at Iowa State.

Before starting his tenure at Iowa State in April 2024, Withers served as the dean of Colorado State University’s College of Liberal Arts. He led the college through a 30% increase in incoming first-year students, the addition of 100 new tenure-track faculty, and secured significant salary increases for faculty and staff. Partnering with his development team, Withers also helped achieve record-breaking philanthropic success, acquiring two of the largest gifts in college history.

Additional leadership roles include department chair, dean of undergraduate studies, director of the honors program, and associate provost for undergraduate education at the University of Kentucky. Withers’ robust blend of leadership experience is bolstered by a passion for championing collaboration, strategic planning, advocating for the arts and sciences, and empowering impactful multidisciplinary research.

Withers received his master’s degree and Ph.D. in art history from the University of Chicago, with a focus on early medieval manuscripts. Prior to his leadership roles at Colorado State and the University of Kentucky, he served as professor and assistant dean for the Raclin School of the Arts at Indiana University South Bend. With three books/edited collections and nearly 40 professional publications, his work in art history is supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Whiting Foundation, the Ameritech/SBC Foundation, and others.