Michael Vincent is enthusiastic about his new appointment as dean for the College of Arts and Letters at Northern Arizona University.

“I see the college as a center of intellectual and artistic excellence for NAU’s students and, more broadly, for the community,” said Vincent, who will take his position July 1. “At this point in my career, nothing could please me more than the opportunity to contribute to NAU’s success.”

Vincent will relocate to Flagstaff from Paris. From 2000 to 2004, he served as vice president for academic affairs and dean of the American University of Paris, an English-speaking university, during which time he was responsible for 10 academic departments offering 13 bachelor’s degrees, as well as the university’s academic support services.

Vincent implemented a new general education program and a new first-year student program, increased student retention by 12 percent, presented new majors in finance, psychology and film studies and reaffirmed the university’s accreditation with the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

He is currently working on a book, Ekphrasis and its Fictions, Ancient and Modern, which explores representations of visual art in literary texts.

At NAU, Vincent said he will work with the faculty to build on the “many strengths” of the College of Arts and Letters.

“I suspect that my particular experience in international education and interdisciplinary studies will complement some of the directions the college and university are already taking,” Vincent said. “As I learned more about the richness of the university’s artistic and cultural life, the depth of its intellectual commitment, and its focus on students, I became more convinced that NAU will be an excellent place to be.”

Vincent began his academic career as a French teaching assistant at the University of Wisconsin, where he received his Ph.D. in French literature in 1979. He later became a professor of French at Wichita State University, where from 1996 to 2000 he was dean of its graduate school.

“Dr. Vincent brings tremendous expertise to us, with a strong scholarly background in the humanities, but also substantial knowledge and experience with the arts,” said Liz Grobsmith, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “Dr. Vincent has the breadth, experience and vision to move our College of Arts and Letters forward, providing strong leadership for the faculty and leadership team in the college.”

Vincent said he is looking forward to returning to the United States. “The natural beauty and cultural diversity of the region make the prospect of living in Flagstaff appealing to my wife and me,” he said.

Vincent has written a book on the 17th century French poet Jean de La Fontaine, numerous academic papers and presentations.