Tony Kolenic joined Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum as Director in March 2021.
Tony returns to the University of Michigan after serving as Associate Dean for Research and Strategic Initiatives and Associate Professor of Digital Arts + Sciences at the University of Florida. As Associate Dean, his responsibilities included: oversight of strategic planning, leading community engagement and strategic partnerships, securing external grants, leading interdisciplinary initiatives, and growing and managing the college’s research portfolio. Strategic initiatives included numerous interdisciplinary research, curricular, and community outreach partnerships designed to advance sustainability and ecological restoration. In addition, Tony was a leader in gender equity and antiracist organization and institutional change within his college and across the University of Florida.
He previously served as Associate Director/Interim Director of University of Michigan’s ArtsEngine and the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru). In this role, he provided strategic and operational leadership and managed interdisciplinary research and curricular initiatives. He served as co-principal investigator for an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Research Project – a three-year effort to create the first comprehensive guide to best practices for building interdisciplinary institutional infrastructure across U.S. universities.
Tony also served as an Advisor and Specialist in Peace and Justice studies in the department of Anthropology at Michigan State University. In this role, he worked closely with community organizations and external partners to craft environmental justice initiatives. Additionally, he designed and taught interdisciplinary and honors courses about the global flow of power, cultural politics, social movements, and environmental justice.
He holds a bachelor’s in Social Relations from James Madison College, Michigan State University, where he focused on environmental policy, and received both master’s and doctorate degrees in American studies from Michigan State University.