Search Committee Unanimously Recommends James Valentini as New Dean of Columbia College

The search committee for the Dean of Columbia College has concluded its work. After considering a long list of nominations and interviewing four candidates over several days, we recommended to President Bollinger that he appoint Interim Dean Jim Valentini to the position.

June 11, 2012

The decision was unanimous and enthusiastically endorsed by all members of the search committee. Jim impressed the committee with the depth of his understanding of Columbia College and the clarity of his thinking about the future of undergraduate education here. His grasp of budgetary process and his familiarity with the institution’s new administrative structures position him well to provide effective leadership at this pivotal moment in the life of the College within the University. We were struck in particular by his appreciation of the contributions of all members of the community—students, alumni, faculty, and administration—in making Columbia College a world-class liberal arts learning environment. Jim is also firmly committed to ensuring that all Columbia College students are able to avail themselves of academic opportunities, regardless of their financial circumstances.

In his nine months as Interim Dean, Jim Valentini has set the highest standards for transparency and integrity in the governance of the College and the Arts and Sciences. He has brought energy and creativity to every task. Finally, he has demonstrated his capacity for compassion and personal engagement with the students on this campus. These qualities make him an ideal candidate for the position of Columbia College Dean.

In the course of conducting interviews, the committee identified other attractive candidates with great potential for assuming leadership roles in the future. We have communicated these findings to President Bollinger as well.

The search committee was composed of faculty, students and alumni to ensure that the perspectives of all groups were represented.


Ruth DeFries Chair and Denning Family Professor of Sustainable Development, Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology
Chris Brown Professor, Department of History
Bob O'Meally Zora Neale Hurston Professor of English and Comparative Literature
Cathy Popkin Jesse and George Siegel Professor in the Humanities, Department of Slavic Languages
Tom DiPrete Giddings Professor of Sociology
Stuart Firestein Professor, Department of Biological Sciences
Christia Mercer Gustav A. Berne Professor of Philosophy
Norma Graham William B. Ransford Professor of Psychology
Kyra Barry Alumna (CC'87), President of the Columbia College Alumni Association
Yale Fergang Alumnus (CC'87, SEAS'88), Chair of the Columbia College Board of Visitors
J.T. Ramseur Student (CC'13), Psychology
Mary Kircher Student (CC'13), Economics
Karishma Habbu Student (CC'13), President of the Columbia College Student Council