Columbia University

Communications and Calendars

Letters to the Faculty: February 10, 2011

Dear Colleagues:

With the departure of Henry Pinkham after nine years of distinguished service, we are charged with undertaking a search for a new Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. The search committee comprises Professors Charles Armstrong, Stuart Firestein, Sharon Marcus, Carol Rovane, James Valentini, Jacqueline VanGorkom, Sudhir Venkatesh, and Deans Michele Moody-Adams and Peter Awn. We are also very grateful to our colleague Carlos Alonso for stepping in to serve as Acting Dean of GSAS during the current year. While we are conducting a national search, a significant understanding of the institution is ideal, and thus I turn to you to ask your help in identifying colleagues able to provide the leadership the school needs.

The graduate dean’s numerous responsibilities require an intellectual attentiveness that will allow the dean to think expansively as part of an administrative team forming academic policy while serving as a national spokesperson for graduate education. In offering nominations you should consider a number of skills and talents as well: dedication to the welfare of graduate students; decisiveness and tact in allotting finite resources among contending needs; substantial budgetary skills; deep commitment to academic excellence and diversity in the graduate programs; and the capacity to raise funds for the school.

For the search committee to make the best choice, it is essential that we have the help of the whole faculty in assembling a slate of first-rate candidates. Self-nominations are welcome. Please submit your nominations to the committee by March 1 via email to All nominations and expressions of interest will be held in strictest confidentiality. I look forward to hearing from you.

All best,


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

Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Position Summary

Columbia University invites applications and nominations for the position of Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences is one of the oldest and most distinguished graduate schools in the United States, served by faculty who are widely recognized as leading scholars in their disciplines. The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences offers 113 degree programs, including 51 master's only degrees and 62 doctoral programs, through 31 departments and 9 schools. The Graduate School has an enrollment of more than 4500 students, and an administrative staff of 30.

The Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences will report to the Executive Vice President for Arts and Sciences and will provide visionary, innovative, and collaborative leadership to the oversight and development of outstanding graduate programs. In this role, the Dean will be responsible for leading the University’s graduate education mission, including maintaining academic excellence, overseeing admissions and curriculum, and enforcing rules and regulations. The Dean also leads the Executive Committee of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences which serves as the Administrative Board of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences for the purpose of supervising programs leading to the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees outside the departments of the Arts and Sciences.


The Search Committee seeks candidates with an earned doctoral degree with qualifications for appointment as a tenured full professor and distinguished record of accomplishment in research/scholarly work, teaching, and service. Candidates must also have the following preferred qualifications:

• a record of effective leadership, demonstrated administrative experience, and proven success in the management of personnel, budgets and financial planning, including setting priorities and implementing tough decisions
• experience collaborating with diverse and underrepresented populations, with faculty and administrators across disciplines and academic units
• a track record of achieving visibility for successful initiatives demonstrated experience in leveraging, managing and advocating for resources; success in generating external funding in support of graduate training programs
• outstanding oral, written, and interpersonal skills to effectively communicate and promote the mission of the School to students, faculty, alumni, university administration, and external stakeholders.

Additional desired qualifications include a record of commitment to graduate education and contribution to the dialogue on the future of graduate education.