In assessing the
state of the University of Delaware’s College of Arts and Sciences, Dean
George Watson cited such accomplishments of the past year as progress
in improving diversity and inclusion, numerous successful partnerships
and a “banner year” for hiring outstanding faculty.
Watson spoke to a packed house in the Roselle Center for the Arts on
Tuesday, Sept. 27, in the annual “State of the College” event. His
address was followed by a talk by UD President Dennis Assanis and a
reception to welcome new CAS faculty members.
Watson reminded the audience that at last year’s event,
he announced a recurring $1 million commitment to diversity and
inclusion, with the goal of having CAS act as a driver in the
University’s efforts to address such longstanding challenges.
“I am pleased to report that we have made some intentional steps in the right direction,” Watson said in this week’s address.
Those steps include establishing a strategic planning team and
appointing chief diversity advocates Karl Booksh, Colette Gaiter and
Jissell Martinez as part of the college’s and UD’s action plans.
Coordinated by Doug Doren, deputy dean of CAS, the planning team has
drafted a Commitment to Inclusive Excellence focused on cultivating an
inclusive academic and social environment, strengthening recruitment and
retention efforts and leading community engagement initiatives.
Some proposals for the next year call for inviting experts to campus
to conduct workshops and interact with faculty staff and students;
developing more robust mentoring programs for faculty and students; and
recruiting more actively for diverse staff and graduate programs.
As the plan continues to take shape and initiatives move forward,
Watson told CAS faculty and staff that their input will be critical in
implementing the college’s diversity goals.
In related achievements during the past year, he noted the success of
a variety of partnerships, many of them supported by the provost and
the vice provost for diversity.
Such initiatives have brought visiting professors, artists and
postdoctoral fellows to campus. They also have built on a continuing
relationship with the University of Warsaw to launch the Statistical
Teaching and Analytics Research Training (START) program, allowing
selected UD graduate students to attend a summer workshop in Poland, and
have developed collaborations among individuals and organizations to
support public education.
The 2016 State of the College address was the eighth such event for
Watson, a UD alumnus who was appointed interim CAS dean in 2009 and dean
At this year’s event, Assanis announced that Watson has been reappointed dean for a new, five-year term.
Hiring and appointments in CAS
In his talk, Watson highlighted a number of new professional
directors in the college, senior academic appointments and newly hired
Some of those new faculty were hired in “clusters” based on their areas of specialization rather than their specific discipline.
Clusters hired in the past year included those related to UD’s new Center for Biomedical and Brain Imaging
(CBBI). Peter Mende-Siedlecki, Naomi Samimi-Sadeh and Jeffrey Spielberg
joined UD to work with the functional MRI instrument housed in CBBI,
and Keith Schneider was hired to direct the center. All have been
appointed in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences.
Additional new faculty members Tanisha Ford in the Department of
Black American Studies and in history, Zara Anishanslin in history and
art history and Cindy Ott in history joined UD as part of a cluster in
Material Culture Studies. Jennifer Van Horn, in art history and history,
will join the faculty in 2017, also through that cluster.
Another cluster focused on population analytics, with Mieke Eeckhaut
in sociology and criminal justice and Kassra Oskooii in political
science and international relations joining the faculty.
New professional directors this year are Deborah Gump in the
journalism program, Nancy Karibjanian in the Center for Political
Communication, Tara Kee in the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program
and Jeffrey Richardson as the college’s new director of diversity,
outreach and engagement.
Watson announced new senior appointment in social sciences: Saleem
Ali, Blue and Gold Distinguished Professor of Energy and the
Environment; K.C. Morrison, professor of public policy and
administration; David Redlawsk, the James R. Soles Professor of
Political Science and chair of the Department of Political Science and
International Relations; and Daniel Smith, who joins UD as a tenured
associate professor in public policy and administration and director of
the master of public administration program.
Other new faculty welcomed to CAS in the State of the College event
were Noel Archambeault and Jess Muñoz in music; Brian Baade, art
conservation; Daniel Koltonski, philosophy; Julie McGee, black American
studies; Eric Bloch, chemistry and biochemistry; Bennett Maruca and
Veronique Petit (who will join UD in January), physics and astronomy;
and Shuo Wei and Jessica Tanis, biological sciences.
Watson also recognized newly hired faculty members who will join UD
in 2017. They are Kaja Jasinska and Zhenghan Qi, both in linguistics and
cognitive science, Hsin-Wen Lee in philosophy and Chiara Sabina in
women and gender studies.
Other new CAS appointments are Vickie Fedele, Chanele Moore and Sarah
Trembanis, Associate in Arts program; April Kendra, Devon Miller-Duggan
and Viet Phuc Dinh, English; Jon Cox, art and design; and Kim
Schroeder, dance. In cross-disciplinary appointments, new assistant
professors include Scott Partridge in the English Language Institute,
Jamie Sutherland in mathematical sciences, Lydia Timmins in
communication and Tibor Toth in public policy and administration.