Peter de Menocal Named New Science Dean and Con Ed Professor

September 30, 2016
Columbia Science Dean Peter de Menocal

Columbia oceanographer and paleoclimatologist Peter B. de Menocal, was appointed Dean of Science in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. He was also named as Thomas Alva Edison/Con Edison Professor, a newly established chair funded by Con Edison.

As a divisional dean, he joins Sharon Marcus, Dean of Humanities, and Alondra Nelson, Dean of Social Sciences.

De Menocal serves on the faculty of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and as director of the Center for Climate and Life at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. He is also a member of the Earth Institute faculty. His research focuses on deep-sea sediments as archives of past climate change. He earned his Ph.D. at Columbia in 1992 and was a research scientist at Lamont before joining the faculty in 1999. He was chair of the Department of  Earth and Environmental Sciences from 2011 to 2014.

“The world faces real, urgent challenges in climate, human health, and technology innovation, and large research universities should be leading the charge to provide answers,” said de Menocal. “My goal is to help lead this charge for Columbia, to see us attack such big, global problems with resources, discipline, and a sense of purpose. The need for scientific knowledge has never been greater.”

The divisional dean structure was established in 2011. He was appointed by the executive committee of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, which consists of David Madigan, executive vice president and Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences; James J. Valentini, dean of Columbia College;, and Carlos J. Alonso, dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Science. He will report directly to Madigan.

The divisional deans work with the executive committee and other academic deans as they oversee academic departments, research centers, institutes and other major units in their divisions. Their responsibilities include budgeting in conjunction with department chairs, faculty searches and hiring, and compliance with equal opportunity and conflict-of-interest policies. There are nine departments in the Division of Science.

“The exceptional success Peter has demonstrated as a teacher, scientist, department chair, and center director have prepared him well for taking on these new responsibilities,” Alonso, Madigan and Valentini said in announcing de Menocal’s new position. The appointment is effective immediately.

—By Georgette Jasen