The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences began in 1921 when the North Carolina College for Women reorganized its administrative structure. William C. Smith, who was a professor in the English Department, was appointed as the first dean. College President Julius Foust was the creator of the new structure and he envisioned the College to be the foundation and center of the learning programs at the school. By 1928, 70 percent of the students were candidates for an A.B. degree from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
In 1932, the North Carolina College for Women became one of the three charter institutions of the Consolidated University of North Carolina and changed its name to Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina. As a result of consolidation, the school again reorganized its administrative structure in 1935, eliminating the Office of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Another university organizational structure change came in 1966, and, in 1968, a new College of Arts and Sciences composed of fifteen liberal arts departments was established. Robert L. Miller, a chemistry professor from the University of Illinois-Chicago, was appointed as the dean.
Deans of the College of Arts and Sciences:
- William C. Smith (1921-1935)
- Robert L. Miller (1968-1985)
- Joanne Creighton (1985-1990)
- Walter Beale (1990-2003)
- Timothy Johnston (2003-2016)