Columbia University

Communications and Calendars

Letters to the Faculty: April 5, 2011

Dear Colleagues:

I am very pleased to announce that Geraldine Downey, Professor of Psychology at Columbia University, and Director of its Social Relations Laboratory, will assume the newly created position of Executive Vice Dean for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences on July 1, 2011. Geraldine has held various roles at Columbia, including department chair of psychology and Vice Provost for Diversity Initiatives. Trained as a developmental psychologist, she has published extensively on people's efforts to cope with rejection and marginalization and the effects of those struggles on relationships, health and achievement. She is a member of the Association of Psychological Science, the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, the Society for Research in Child Development, and the Society for Experimental Social Psychology. She has been the recipient of numerous honors and awards including the W.T. Grant Faculty Scholar Award, the NIMH First Award, the Phillip and Ruth Hettelman Award for Junior Faculty, and the Columbia University Distinguished Faculty Award. Geraldine received her B.A. from University College, Dublin, and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Cornell University.

As Executive Vice Dean, Geraldine will work closely with me on all matters related to the Arts and Sciences, helping to coordinate the work of my staff and of the other two divisional academic deans (dean of science Amber Miller and a new dean for humanities) while also taking special responsibility for departments and programs in the social sciences at least on an interim basis. As the scale and complexity of operations in our office have increased over the years, the need for a new administrative structure has become steadily more urgent. Geraldine will work with me, my senior staff, the Deans of the constituent schools of the Arts and Sciences, and the new divisional deans, to forge a more responsive and vigorous structure in the Office of the Executive Vice President. I will write shortly to announce the dean for humanities, and to provide more details about the new structure.

As we develop these new roles in the Arts and Sciences, I would like once again to thank other colleagues who have worked with me in different capacities over the past seven years to advance the development of the Arts and Sciences at Columbia, especially Ann McDermott, who served for more than five years as Associate Vice President for Science Initiatives, and played a critical role in the development and planning of the Northwest Corner Building.

All best,


Nicholas B. Dirks
Franz Boas Professor of Anthropology and History
Executive Vice President for Arts and Sciences