“After a competitive internal search, Dr. Estes was selected to lead the college that forms the liberal arts core of our university,” Dr. Christina Drale, interim executive vice chancellor and provost, said. “Dr. Estes has served in the role of interim dean for the last year and brings to the position a continuing commitment to advance the UA Little Rock vision of providing excellent teaching, research, and community partnerships.”
Estes has served in a number of leadership roles at UA Little Rock, including associate dean for research, engagement, and interdisciplinary programs in the College of Social Sciences and Communication; associate dean of the former College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; and associate chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.
In 2017, Estes became the associate provost of Community, Careers, and Extended Education, formerly known as the Community Connection Center. In this role, she launched the UA Little Rock Extended Education office that now offers non-credit courses in six areas and brought the “Handshake” job and internship recruiting platform to campus.
“I am delighted to have someone with Dr. Estes’ experience joining the leadership team,” Drale said. “Her commitment to student success, to community engagement, and to the value of a liberal arts education will serve her well in providing inspired leadership as the dean of the College of Arts, Letters, and Sciences. The knowledge she has accumulated from her diverse service and administrative roles gives her a reliable toolbox of successful strategies for leading a diverse college.”
Estes graduated from Hendrix College with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and holds a master’s degree and Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Iowa. She was a faculty member at the University of Cincinnati and affiliate of the Kunz Center for Work and Family before arriving at UA Little Rock in 2006.
Estes began her UA Little Rock career as the coordinator of the gender studies program and as a faculty member in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, where she taught courses on gender, social statistics and research methods, and interdisciplinary courses in the Donaghey Scholars Program.
Much of Estes’ heavily cited research has focused on how work-family policies are related to aspects of family life, including parenting behavior, children’s well-being, and the gendered division of household labor. In recent years, she has collaborated with the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas to produce several research studies, including the 2018 report “Economic Indicators for Women in Arkansas: State, Region, County.”
Estes serves as first vice president on the board of the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas, which is dedicated to improving economic outcomes for women and girls in Arkansas. She was also the founding chair of the Green Dot Violence Prevention Program established at UA Little Rock in 2013, was voted the Faculty Member of the Year by the Student Government Association in 2014.