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Donald Hall selected as Robert L. and Mary L. Sproull Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Sciences & Engineering

March 19, 2018
photo of Donald HallDonald Hall will be the Robert L. and Mary L. Sproull Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Sciences & Engineering (photo by Douglas Benedict/Lehigh University)

Donald Hall, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of English at Lehigh University, will become the University’s next Robert L. and Mary L. Sproull Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Sciences & Engineering, beginning July 1. Rob Clark, University provost and senior vice president for research, announced the appointment, which is pending final approvals.

You’re invited to Dean Hall’s investiture ceremony

The University community is invited to a ceremony to celebrate the appointment of Donald Hall as the Robert L. and Mary L. Sproull Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Sciences & Engineering at 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 3, in the Feldman Ballroom, Douglass Commons.

RSVP to attend at ECMRSVP@ur.rochester.edu by Wednesday, March 27.

The dean of the faculty of AS&E is a leadership role that includes academic, administrative, and financial responsibility for a unit that is home to more than 350 faculty members, 5,500 undergraduates, and 1,300 graduate students at the University. Leading a team of deans responsible for the School of Arts & Sciences, the Hajim School of Engineering & Applied Sciences, and the undergraduate College, the dean of faculty oversees budgeting, development and advancement, faculty hiring and retention, and departmental leadership within the unit. The dean is also responsible for all aspects of AS&E’s academic programs and research, admissions, and athletics, as well as fostering rich interactions among the curricular and co-curricular activities of the core academic unit of the University.

Hall will succeed Peter Lennie, who most recently held the Robert L. and Mary L. Sproull Deanship until stepping down in June 2017. Richard (Rick) Waugh has served for the past year as interim dean while a nationwide search was underway.  A search committee consisting of faculty and deans from across AS&E, the School of Medicine and Dentistry, and the River Campus Libraries unanimously selected Hall as the No. 1 candidate for the position.

“Dr. Hall is a respected scholar and administrator who impressed our search committee from the very first round of interviews,” said Clark.  “His work in promoting diversity at Lehigh is distinguished among many of the peers with whom we benchmark, and he clearly understands the importance of cross-disciplinary work in the digital age.  We are all simply thrilled to have him join us here at the University of Rochester. Thank you to the search committee for their contributions to this selection process, and thank you to Rick Waugh for serving as interim leader in this important role.”

“The dean of faculty has a complex portfolio of responsibilities and is a position that is critical to enrolling the strongest students, attracting and retaining the best faculty, providing a robust environment for research and scholarship across many fields, and suitably adapting the University’s programs and offerings to ensure students are well equipped to thrive in the world they’re entering,” said University President Richard Feldman. “I am delighted that we have been able to recruit an academic leader such as Donald Hall to Rochester to serve in this important role.”

Hall, who since 2011 has held the endowed position of Herbert and Ann Siegel Dean of Arts and Sciences, administers Lehigh University’s largest college that includes 18 departments inclusive of the social sciences, arts, humanities, and natural sciences; 15 cross-disciplinary programs; nine centers and institutes, 254 full-time faculty and 108 professional staff. Upon arriving at Lehigh, he devised the college’s strategic plan, which continues to be implemented with its signature priorities of diversity, internationalization, and supporting student/faculty work across disciplines.

Under his fiscal leadership, full-time tenure-track faculty in the college has reached an historic high. And of 66 successful full-time faculty searches completed since 2011, over 50 percent led to hiring of individuals from groups under-represented in their fields. Overall, faculty research productivity in Arts & Sciences at Lehigh has reached all-time highs—combined research activity increased 8 percent since 2010, and the number of grants submitted increased 43 percent.

Hall also created the national and international marketing brand for Lehigh’s College of Arts and Sciences, using the phrase “Dialogue Toward Understanding” and “Join the Dialogue” to link college activities, interdisciplinary initiatives, fundraising efforts, and a social media imprint.

“While Lehigh has been a wonderful home for me for the past seven years, the opportunity to serve as Sproull Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering at Rochester is truly unique and exciting,” said Hall. “It offers a scope of responsibility that promises to be deeply fulfilling.  The college has a stellar future ahead of it and I look forward to joining its impressive, passionately engaged community of faculty, staff, students, and researchers.”

Before joining Lehigh, Hall was the Jackson Distinguished Professor of English at West Virginia University and chaired the Department of English from 2007-11. He directed the department from fiscal uncertainty to budget surplus through a number of strategic and financially sustainable initiatives. He also created recruitment materials that led to a 100 percent increase in graduate applications.

Before WVU, Hall was professor of English and chair of the Department of English at California State University, Northridge, where he taught for 13 years.

As a scholar, his research and teaching focuses on British studies, queer theory, cultural studies, and professional studies. His current work examines issues such as professional responsibility and academic community-building, ethics and agency in sexuality studies. He frequently speaks on the value of a liberal arts education and the need for nurturing global competencies in students and interdisciplinary dialogue in and beyond the classroom. His many books include The Academic Community: A Manual for Change, published by Ohio State University Press in 2007, and Reading Sexualities: Hermeneutic Theory and the Future of Queer Studies, published by Routledge in 2009.

Hall earned his Ph.D. in English from the University of Maryland, a master’s degree in comparative literature from the University of Illinois, and a bachelor’s degree in German and political science from the University of Alabama.

The Robert L. and Mary L. Sproull Deanship was endowed in 1999 through the generosity of the late Robert Sproull—who served as the University’s seventh president—and his wife, the late Mary Sproull.

Waugh Named Vice Provost for Research

Clark also announced that Waugh, upon completing his term as interim dean of faculty, will rejoin the Office of the Provost as vice provost for research. He will also return to the biomedical engineering faculty in the School of Medicine and Dentistry.

The vice provost for research reports to the provost and senior vice president for research. The role is expanded from Waugh’s previous appointment, associate vice president for research, which he concurrently held while serving as interim dean.  The vice provost for research is a University-wide position that focuses on finalizing and implementing the future Strategic Research Plan, which will encompass all of the scholarly activities of the institution, including the arts, humanities, science, engineering, and clinical research. Waugh will nurture a strong research community on campus and continue to grow relationships with the corporate sector.

Waugh’s own research projects in biomedical engineering focus on cellular mechanics and cell adhesion and how these affect blood flow and inflammation.

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