Appointment of Dean of Columbia College

February 27, 2009

To the Columbia community:

I am extremely pleased to announce the appointment of Michele Moody-Adams as the next Dean of Columbia College and Vice President for Undergraduate Education.  She comes to Columbia from Cornell University where she is the Hutchinson Professor and Director of the Program on Ethics and Public Life, and has served for the past four years as Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education.  As an administrator, she has been responsible for ensuring the integrity and coherence of undergraduate curriculum and instruction at Cornell and overseeing a number of academic and residential initiatives. 

Professor Moody-Adams is an accomplished scholar and administrator who has taught at Cornell, Indiana University, the University of Rochester and Wellesley College.  She has produced an extensive and exemplary body of work in moral philosophy and is the founder of Cornell’s program in ethics and public policy.  Her 1997 book, Fieldwork in Familiar Places:  Morality, Culture, and Philosophy, has been widely praised as “a major contribution to moral philosophy.”  She has also written and lectured extensively throughout the United States and abroad on a wide range of timely issues, and her voice is a prominent one among publicly-minded philosophers. 

In the breadth of her scholarship and interests, Professor Moody-Adams exemplifies Columbia’s own tradition of great scholarship that is engaged in the public issues of our time.  Hers is the kind of approach to teaching and learning imagined by Columbians who have created and nurtured a Core Curriculum that has called on generations of undergraduates to reflect deeply on our shared intellectual traditions, to challenge their own preconceptions about the world, to remain open to the perspectives of others, and to grapple with the questions essential to active citizenship in a democracy.

Professor Moody-Adams received BA degrees from both Wellesley College and Oxford University; and went on to earn her MA and PhD in Philosophy from Harvard.  She has won numerous academic honors, including the “Last Lecturer” faculty award from Cornell in 2004 and Howard University’s Alain Locke Award in Philosophy in 2003. 

I want to thank Vice President for Arts and Sciences Nick Dirks and all the students, faculty, staff and alumni members of the search committee for their hard work and enthusiastic recommendation of Professor Moody-Adams for this vital leadership role at Columbia.

Professor Moody-Adams’ extraordinary commitment to teaching, scholarship and public service, as well as her experience as an academic administrator, make her uniquely well suited to this role.  I want to thank Dean Austin Quigley again for his 14 years of leadership at the College.  With the appointment of Michele Moody-Adams, we know that Columbia College will continue to be in good hands in the years ahead.  Please join me in welcoming her to the Columbia University community. 



Lee C. Bollinger