Nick Dirks Appointed Vice President for Arts and Sciences
August 5, 2004
I am delighted to announce the appointment of Nick Dirks, Franz Boas Professor of Anthropology and History, and chair of the department of Anthropology, as the new Vice President for Arts and Sciences.
Many of you know Nick already. A member of the faculty at Columbia since 1997, he earned his B.A. from Wesleyan University and his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. He is a highly distinguished scholar, dedicated to intellectual life within the academy and in public affairs. An experienced and successful chair, internationalist in scope, and embracing of diverse perspectives, Nick is well prepared to take on the serious and complex responsibilities of this distinctive role in the academic world.
I want to extend a very special thanks to the search committee, and especially to the chair, David Freedberg. They did all that the University could expect, and more. I thank them, particularly, for their patience and hard work during a long search process. I am very pleased that members of the committee have already met with Nick to help ensure a successful term.
I also want to express my gratitude to Ira Katznelson for extraordinary service as the interim Vice President. More than anyone could, Ira made his interim designation irrelevant, and the University is significantly better for it.
This is an extremely important time for Columbia. Critical issues of space, resources, and intellectual directions for the University are on the table for consideration and decision, especially over the next year or two. The arts and sciences and in the short term the sciences in particular will be front and center on that rich and full agenda. Provost Alan Brinkley joins me in saying how very fortunate we all are in having Nick assume this role at this moment.
One final comment: As the search unfolded, we identified a clear need for additional resources for the office of Vice President for Arts and Sciences. With Nick’s leadership, we will explore opportunities for additional staffing and look to the faculty for more involvement. What form that should take, however, is an open question. Alan and I have talked with Nick about this, and he will immediately begin a process of consultation and re-organization of the office.
Nick will assume his new position on September l, and I look forward to working with him.
Lee C. Bollinger