Philosophy department chair appointed associate dean for arts and humanities

by Grace Lee | 4/24/20 2:00am

Source: Courtesy of Samuel Levey

Philosophy department chair Samuel Levey has been named the next associate dean for arts and humanities. He will start his term as dean on July 1, following the end of English professor Barbara Will’s fifth and final term in the position. 

Levey will  oversee faculty within the arts and humanities division of the College’s arts and sciences program. The associate dean is “on the front line” of hiring new faculty, participating in the tenured promotion decision-making process and managing curricular activities within the division, dean of the faculty of arts and sciences Elizabeth Smith said. 

Since joining the philosophy department in 1997, Levey has served as the director of the Leslie Center for the Humanities, chaired the Title IX Committee, the philosophy department and the Committee on Faculty, and served on the committee advisory to the President, the Committee on Organization and Policy and the College Curricular Review Committee. 

Levey said that he felt both “excited and daunted” when Smith offered him the role. He added that accepting the role was a “tricky decision” because he finds teaching rewarding, and deans often opt to teach fewer courses due to the demands of their position. 

Philosophy professor Adina Roskies, who said she worked with Levey for about 15 years, described Levey as an “exceptionally well-organized” and “thoughtful” leader who “helped the department come together.” According to Roskies, many “wonderful” people were hired under Levey’s time as chair of the department.

Smith said that she solicited recommendations for possible candidates for the position from the arts and humanities faculty in early January. In addition to input from other faculty, Smith said that she considered “extensive administrative experience and capabilities” and personal qualities such as “tremendous integrity” and looked for “someone whose intentions are true to the institution’s core values.”

Eligible candidates for deanship must be a full professor with tenure, as one of the responsibilities of the associate dean is to prepare cases for the tenured promotion committee, according to Smith.

Associate dean of faculty for the social sciences John Carey, who said that he served on committees with Levey in the past and will be now working with him on a weekly basis, said that he has a “huge amount of respect” for Levey as a scholar and leader.

Levey said that he looks forward to learning more about the research of his colleagues in different departments and discovering how to work best with other associate deans to support faculty across departments.

Director of the Leslie Center for the Humanities Rebecca Biron, who previously worked with Levey on the arts and humanities divisional counsel and the Title IX committee, stressed the importance of Levey’s new role as “a champion and cheerleader” for the arts and humanities faculty. She said that she looks forward to his “continued support” of the Center in his new role. 

“He is one of the good go-to faculty governance colleagues,” Biron said. 

Smith recognized Levey’s leadership and administrative skills throughout the selection process and found “the thoroughness and thoughtfulness with which he approaches challenges incredibly impressive,” adding that she looks forward to how he will apply those traits to his role.

“We are living in an incredibly challenging time,” Smith said. “You need those kind of people with these incredible skills to look at problems backward, inside, forward … of really trying to solve problems and make good decisions on behalf of the faculty.”

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