Dr. Michelle DenBeste will serve a one-year appointment as interim dean of the College of Social Sciences at Fresno State effective July 1, Provost Lynnette Zelezny announced.

DenBeste, currently chair of the Department of History, will fill a vacancy as Dean Luz Gonzalez participates in an American Council on Education fellowship.

DenBeste joined the Fresno State faculty in 2000 and has twice served as History Department chair: from 2004 to 2009 and since 2013. She has taught Russian history and European history courses and was principal investigator for a Teaching American History Grant in 2005-12.

“Dr. DenBeste is a bold thinker who has earned the trust and support of the faculty in the College of Social Science,” said Zelezny.

DenBeste has travelled and lived in Russia on a number of occasions. Her research focuses on Russian women doctors in the 19th century and she has published several articles on the topic. She has forthcoming publications on teaching the Mongols and the difficulties of researching Russian women.

She is currently working on two articles, “Writing a Career: Russian Women Physicians Professional Life Stories” and “Russians in the Central Valley:  Molokans, Russian Baptists and German Russian, 1900-present,” a book length project of original research and oral histories, with student contributions.

She was named the 2011 San Joaquin Valley Council of Social Sciences Teacher of the Year.

“I am excited about this opportunity and look forward to working with the talented and dedicated faculty, staff and students of the College of Social Sciences,” DenBeste said.

DenBeste was a faculty participant in the DISCOVERe tablet program during the spring semester. She has served on numerous department, university and California State University committees.

Prior to coming to Fresno State, DenBeste taught at Arkansas Tech University and Southern Illinois University.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in Russian and East European Studies from University of Washington, and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in History from Southern Illinois University.