RPI searches for new dean

The search is on for a new Dean of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences after the departure of the previous dean, John Harrington. Announced to the Rensselaer campus on December 11, 2009, the search encompasses a national and international scope. The Core Recruitment Committee, charged with identifying candidates, is composed of administrators and faculty. On the committee are Eddie Ade Knowles, vice president for student life; Evan Douglis, dean of the School of Architecture; Stanley Dunn, vice provost and dean of graduate education; Arturo Estrella, professor and head of economics; Atsushi Akera, associate professor of science and technology studies; Audrey Bennett, associate professor of language, literature, and communication; Brett Fajen, associate professor of cognitive science; and Kathleen Ruiz, associate professor of arts.

The search began on November 18, 2009, and is expected to end by the conclusion of the Spring 2010 semester. Knowles stated that an external search firm is working with the Institute to identify potential candidates, including those outside the United States. The Institute has also asked for internal nominees, especially from the Department of HASS, but also from the other four schools. Knowles stated, “I think we’ve made a good case for why this position as Dean of HASS is one that people should give serious consideration to if they are considering it.”

Douglis expressed a desire in continuing the existing working relationship between the Schools of Architecture and HASS, stating, “As Dean of Architecture, I have particular interest in someone … interested in working with the School of Architecture.” This relationship is evidenced by events such as the collaborative Material Witness exhibition at the Albany Airport.

As of early February, the Core Recruitment Committee is preparing to conduct off-campus interviews with candidates. Once those are complete, the Committee will form a smaller group of highly qualified candidates to bring on campus to be interviewed by a cross-section of staff, faculty, administrators, and students. If the search stays on track, the new dean will be announced at the end of this semester and will start next fall.

Knowles expressed excitement at the prospect of a new dean: “To be part of helping us to find a new dean—I’m pretty excited about that because I can see … that this school … is strategically giving us tremendous new market position in terms of the breadth of programs that are being added to what we do as a university.”