University of Rochester

Joanna Olmsted Appointed Interim Dean of the College Faculty

May 12, 2005

Joanna B. Olmsted, professor of biology and dean of faculty development in the College, has been named interim vice provost and dean of the faculty of arts, sciences, and engineering effective July 1. Today’s announcement by Provost Charles E. Phelps follows the appointment of Thomas J. LeBlanc as executive vice president and provost at the University of Miami as of the start of the 2005-06 year.

“I am delighted that Dean Olmsted has agreed to serve as interim dean,” said President-elect Joel Seligman. “She has played a pivotal role in the senior leadership of the College since 1995, and has the enthusiastic support of her fellow deans. Her appointment represents, in part, a strong vote of confidence in the direction and leadership of the College.

“In the near future, Provost Phelps and I look forward to announcing the search committee that will seek a permanent dean.”

“I have had the pleasure of working with Joanna Olmsted for more than a decade, and I have high regard for her talent as an administrator and scholar,” Phelps said. “As interim dean she will be a great asset to the College in the new academic year.”

“Tom LeBlanc has provided extraordinary vision and leadership to the College during the past nine years,” Olmsted said. “While an open search is under way, Deans William Scott Green, Kevin Parker, Paul Slattery and I, as well as the others in the College Deans’ office, are committed to providing the support to the College programs and to its faculty, students and staff that characterized Tom’s tenure.” (More information about the search process is available online at

As the dean of faculty development in the College, Olmsted currently handles matters relating to the recruitment and review of College faculty in tenure-track and non-tenure track positions. She also works with department chairs and with others in the Deans’ Office on strategic and budget planning.

A cell biologist, she received her bachelor’s degree in biology from Earlham College in 1967 and her doctoral degree in biology from Yale University in 1971. She was a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellow at the University of Wisconsin at Madison from 1971 to 74. Joining the University of Rochester in 1975 as an assistant professor of biology, she was promoted to associate professor in 1981 and to professor in 1987. She was appointed associate dean of faculty in 1995, and has been dean of faculty development since 1998.