McLendon names top A&S deans

Dean-elect of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences George McLendon announced Tuesday the appointments of three divisional deans in Arts and Sciences to replace current Dean of Natural Sciences Berndt Mueller and Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences Karla Holloway.

 "I think this is a good time for [McLendon] to appoint his divisional deans," said William Chafe, current dean of the faculty of Arts and Sciences and vice provost for undergraduate education. "And I think they constitute a superb team, with excellent ability to carry forward the work we have begun."

 Effective July 1, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities Gregson Davis will be dean of the humanities, Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Fellow and Professor Stephen Nowicki will be dean of the natural sciences and Professor of psychology Susan Roth will be dean of the social sciences.

 "The divisional deans will work with me and their respective departments and programs to formulate and implement the strategic plan for Arts and Sciences and Trinity College," McLendon wrote in an e-mail to colleagues.

 Provost Peter Lange noted that the appointment of divisional deans from within the University will help make McLendon's transition into his deanship easier, in spite of his already having a strong knowledge of the Arts and Sciences departments at Duke.

 "The fact that he's new to Duke will mean that [the divisional deans] will be able to offer him important information about the departments," Lange said. "They will certainly be of great assistance to him as dean."

 The divisional deans will also have multidisciplinary responsibilities that transcend their divisions when dealing with issues such as faculty diversity, McLendon added.

 Nowicki expressed enthusiasm about the opportunity to work in concert with McLendon and the other deans to facilitate the broader goals of the University.

 "The divisional deans are all going to be working together as a team," Nowicki said. "We're not going to be parochial about it-I'm not just interested in the science departments, I'm interested in Duke." Five year ago, Chafe spearheaded the creation of divisional deanships at the University, appointing Mueller and Holloway in order to handle the growing complexity of managing the various departments under Arts and Sciences.

 "We needed expertise and hands-on authority," Chafe said, adding that the implementation of divisional deanships has since made Arts and Sciences more efficient and responsive to the faculty and departments. Mueller said his experience as dean of natural sciences over the past five years has clearly proven the importance of having divisional deans.

 "Simply because of the diversity of the school faculty, divisional deans allow for contact with the department and faculty members reasonably often so that contact is sufficiently intense," Mueller said. "It's a very fruitful arrangement and I'm glad to see this continue."

 The divisional deanship arrangement under McLendon, however, differs from the current system. The position of dean of humanities and social sciences, which Holloway currently holds, will be split in two. "It's become clear that it's a lot of work for one person to cover two divisions," said Roth. "It now makes sense to have one dean for each of the divisions."

 Although in its original conception, the divisional deanships were intended to be separated into the three positions that will exist under McLendon, Chafe said Holloway's experience and interests made her qualified to take on the division of humanities as well as social sciences.

 "I had asked [Holloway] to combine both humanities and social sciences because she came from both English and [African and African-American Studies]," Chafe said. "And we both agreed it was good for her to take on responsibility for both."

 In addition to incorporating a third divisional dean in Arts and Sciences, McLendon also appointed Dean of Trinity College Robert Thompson as vice provost for undergraduate education-a decision that Chafe said will make for a good team to lead Arts and Sciences and undergraduate education.

 "I am especially pleased that Bob Thompson will become vice-provost," Chafe, who previously held the title, said. "That task is to help coordinate undergraduate education policy, and no one is better qualified than Bob Thompson to do that."

 McLendon is delighted to have such accomplished faculty agree to help lead Arts and Sciences, he wrote.

 Thompson joined the faculty in 1975 and holds appointments in the department of psychology: social and health sciences, department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and department of pediatrics. He has been dean of Trinity College since 1999 and was previously dean of undergraduate affairs. As dean, Thompson helped lead the undergraduate transition to Curriculum 2000 and has since overseen its assessment and evaluation.

 Davis is the former chair of classical studies and also has an adjunct appointment in the Program in Literature. He served on the provost's Task Force for Faculty Diversity, was a member of the provost's search committee and directed the Duke in Venice summer study abroad program.

 Nowicki chaired the faculty committee that recently recommended revisions of Curriculum 2000 and holds appointments as a professor in the departments of biology, psychology and neurobiology.

 Roth chaired the executive committee of the Women's Initiative and the provost's Women's Faculty Development Task Force and served on the provost's Task Force for Faculty Diversity. She is the former chair of psychology: social and health sciences and holds appointments in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences as well as in the women's studies program.


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