February 27, 2013

Cornell: Search for Arts Dean Narrowed To Four Candidates

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As Peter Lepage, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, prepares to step down in June, the pool of candidates to fill his position has been narrowed down to four individuals, according to Simeon Moss ’73, deputy University spokesperson. All four candidates have a Cornell connection: One is a Cornell faculty member, two are Cornell alumni and one is both a Cornell faculty member and an alumnus.

The selection committee — chaired by Senior Vice Provost Ron Seeber —  began its search for candidates after Lepage announced in May that he would step down as dean of the arts college at the end of his term in June.

“After five months of meetings, interviews and deliberations, the search committee has narrowed the candidate pool to four outstanding finalists,” Moss said in an email.

The final candidates include two current Cornell employees. One, Prof. Scott MacDonald ’78 Ph.D. ’86, philosophy, has worked at Cornell since 1995. MacDonald became chair of the Sage School of Philosophy in 2007, according to his personal website. His research focuses on medieval philosophy, philosophical theology and moral psychology, according to his website.

Another candidate — Prof. Laura Brown, English, vice provost for undergraduate education — has worked at Cornell since 1981 and was named vice provost in 2009, according to a Unversity press release. Brown has written six books and is an “innovative scholar” of 18th century British literature, according to Cornell’s website.

Prof. Srinivas Aravamudan M.A. ’88 Ph.D. ’91, Duke University, English — another candidate — has previously taught at the University of Utah and the University of Washington. He also focuses on 18th-century British and French Literature, according to the Duke University website.

The final candidate —  Prof. Gretchen Ritter ’83, the Universty of Texas at Austin, government — is vice provost for undergraduate education and faculty governance at the institution. Her research focuses on women’s activism, democratic movements, constitutional law and work-family policy, according to the Unversity of Texas website.

These finalists have been asked to meet with faculty and administrators in the next few weeks before the selection committee makes its final decision, Moss said in an email.

The search committee consists of professors in different departments across the arts college, including Prof. Gerard Aching Ph.D. ’91, Africana studies, romance studies, who is the director of the Africana Studies and Research Center. Additionally, Kent Kleinman, College of Architecture, Art and Planning dean, serves on the search committee, according to its website.

Original Author: Caroline Flax