University News

Dean to head Watson Institute for one year

Senior Staff Writer
Saturday, May 14, 2011

Carolyn Dean, senior associate dean of the faculty and professor of history, will become interim director of the Watson Institute for International Studies July 1.

Her appointment comes at a tumultuous period for the Watson Institute — Dean will be its fifth director in seven years.

Dean will serve for one year while the University searches for a permanent director for the institute. The current director, Michael Kennedy, announced his resignation in March.

Dean hopes to provide stability at the institute and “prepare the groundwork” for the next director, she wrote in an email to The Herald.

Next year will be “critical” for the Watson Institute in terms of deciding what its research priorities should be — a question that has been under discussion for years — and determining its faculty appointment structure, Provost David Kertzer ’69 P’95 P’98 wrote in a May 4 email to faculty.

Dean will meet with the Watson Institute’s Board of Overseers at the end of June to discuss the institute’s mission, which is restricted by a founding agreement with its original benefactors. She will likely emphasize global security as a key research focus for the institute, she said.

The University did not have time to identify and appoint a permanent director for the Watson Institute after Kennedy’s March announcement, Dean of the Faculty Rajiv Vohra P’07 wrote in an email to The Herald. But Dean will stabilize the Watson Institute until a new director is named, he wrote.

“Having worked with Dean Dean for many years, I can attest to her superb abilities as an administrator who has both the experiences and the skills to … provide the kind of leadership that the Watson Institute needs at this moment,” Vohra wrote.

Dean’s departure from her post as senior associate dean of the faculty will be the second high-level departure from the Office of the Dean of the Faculty for the upcoming year. On April 25, Vohra announced he was stepping down from his position to return to professorial work.

Administrative positions often rotate, and changes in senior academic offices are a “very natural development,” Dean said. “Institutions, they survive.”

The University has not yet appointed a new dean of the faculty, Vohra wrote. A new senior associate dean of the faculty will likely not be named until the dean of the faculty is chosen, Dean said, adding that she had “absolutely no interest” in becoming dean of the faculty herself.

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