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GSAS's Macagno to Become Dean of Biology Division at UCSD

By James Devitt

Eduardo R. Macagno

Eduardo R. Macagno, dean of Columbia's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) since 1993, has been appointed founding dean of the division of biology at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). Under his deanship, Macagno nearly doubled GSAS's annual fund, increased financial aid for students, expanded the number of master's degrees programs and enhanced teacher training for doctoral students. For a list of expansion of benefits for graduate students click here.

His departure marks the end of 37 years at Columbia, where he arrived as a graduate student in physics in 1963.

"Eduardo has been a member of the Columbia community for nearly four decades," said President George Rupp. "As a student and a faculty member he has made many and varied contributions to the University. And, for the past seven and a half years, he has provided leadership to the University as dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. We are deeply grateful to him."

In addition to the increase in GSAS's annual fund, the level of financial aid for students has risen during Macagno's tenure. Beginning in 2001-2002, doctoral students in GSAS will be funded at the same level, which means social sciences and humanities students will receive the same level of funding as those in the natural sciences. Greater resources for financial aid have also helped fuel the rise in applications for admission.

"We have increased funding for students to the point where we can offer financial aid to most students coming in," said Macagno, Ph.D. '68. "At Columbia, we have a principle that everyone is funded by fellowships at the same level. That's very unusual. I'm proud of our ability to keep a level playing field. We have a level of equality that is unmatched by our peers."

"Eduardo has contributed enormously to the enhancement of the graduate school during his seven-year tenure as dean," said Provost Jonathan Cole. "His deep concern for the quality education and quality of life of graduate students, coupled with his practical ability to form and implement plans for improving the school, has benefited the school's 3,200 graduate students and helped keep Columbia at the forefront of graduate education."

Macagno's term has been marked by other improvements in graduate education. There are now 40 master's degree programs, up from 24 in 1993. These include new programs in biotechnology, the mathematics of finance, quantitative methods in the social sciences and African-American studies.

"Graduate education has become increasingly interdisciplinary," said David Cohen, vice president for arts and sciences. "Eduardo's expansion of master's degrees programs recognizes this change and has helped Columbia remain competitive."

During Macagno's deanship, GSAS has focused on improving students' professional opportunities while enhancing the quality of graduate education. In 1999, GSAS formed the Teaching Program, which includes a teaching assistant manual, teaching workshops for doctoral students and an on-line help line to answer graduate students' questions about teaching.

"We have focused on improving the quality of teaching done by graduate students," said Macagno, who was chair of the University's biology department from 1991 to 1993. "Teacher training is an integral part of the education of graduate students. In addition, it adds to their attractiveness in the job market, particularly students in the humanities."

GSAS also created a career planning office to bolster job opportunities for its graduates.

"The fact is many students go outside academia in their professional pursuits," said Macagno. "We responded to that need by creating this office."

During his 37 years at Columbia, Macagno has seen marked changes in the University. According to Macagno, many of these began in 1968, during protests stemming from frayed relations between the Columbia and the community.

"1968 was a moment of awakening for the University," Macagno said. "It began to see itself as more of an integral part of the community as opposed to an elite University stuck in a community. It caused a lot of needed changes within the institution."

A search committee for a new dean of GSAS has been formed, chaired by Professor Robert Hymes (East Asian languages and cultures). The committee will include Professors Betsy Blackmar (history), Tory Higgins (psychology), Jean Howard (English), Steve Kahn (physics) and Ira Katznelson (political science), as well as a representative of the Graduate Student Advisory Committee, music student Cynthia Wong, and GSAS Alumni Association President Dale Turza. The committee hopes to complete its work by the end of April. Gillian Lindt, a professor of sociology and of religion, is currently serving as interim dean of GSAS.

Macagno begins his new position at UCSD on Feb. 1, 2001.

Published: Dec 05, 2000
Last modified: Sep 18, 2002


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