Leading Scholars: Divisional Deans Fred Harris and Sarah Cole Share Their Plans

August 21, 2018
Deans Fredrick Harris and Sarah Cole standing on campus with Butler Library in the background

Photos by John Pinderhughes; Composite by Nicoletta Barolini

Sarah Cole and Fredrick Harris were named divisional deans in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences last year, taking on the roles of shaping the fields of humanities and social sciences.

Cole, the dean of humanities, is also the Parr Professor of English and Comparative Literature. She specializes in British literature of the 19th and 20th centuries with an emphasis on the modernist period. Harris, a professor of political science, also directs the Center on African American Politics and Society. They succeed Sharon Marcus, the Orlando Harriman Professor of English and Comparative Literature, and sociology professor Alondra Nelson, respectively.

As divisional deans, Cole and Harris join oceanographer and paleoclimatologist Peter deMenocal, the Thomas Alva Edison/Con Edison Professor, who was appointed Dean of Science in 2016. They report to the Executive Vice President of Arts and Sciences, a role now held by Maya Tolstoy, who was named interim EVP when David Madigan, a statistics professor, returned to teaching after five years in that job. Tolstoy, a marine geophysicist who specializes in seafloor earthquakes and volcanoes, is a professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

In their roles, divisional deans are responsible for supervising the academic departments and research centers under their purview, overseeing faculty searches and new hires as well as setting budget priorities and research funding. Cole and Harris recently spoke to The Record about their plans for their respective areas.

Embracing a Pivotal Moment for Social Science

Read the interview with Dean Fredrick Harris.

Increasing the Visibility of the Humanities

Read the interview with Dean Sarah Cole.