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Dartmouth’s Katharine Conley named W&M Dean of Arts & Sciences

  • Arts & Sciences Dean
    Arts & Sciences Dean
    Katharine Conley, former Associate Dean of the Faculty for the Arts & Humanities at Dartmouth College and the school's current Edward Tuck Professor of French and Comparative Literature, has been named the next Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Sciences at the College of William & Mary.
    Photo by Stephen Salpukas

Katharine Conley, former Associate Dean of the Faculty for the Arts & Humanities at Dartmouth College and the school’s current Edward Tuck Professor of French and Comparative Literature, has been named the next Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Sciences at the College of William & Mary.

“We are delighted to welcome Kate Conley into the William & Mary family,” said President Taylor Reveley. “Her record as a teacher, scholar and administrative leader at Dartmouth is powerful, and she was compelling when on campus during our search. We look forward to her leadership at William & Mary.”

“We are also extremely grateful to Gene Tracy,” added Reveley, “for his leadership as interim dean of Arts & Sciences.  His abiding concern for the welfare of the College and his willingness to wrestle with tough, crucial issues have served the university well.”

Tracy, the Chancellor Professor of Physics, became interim dean last July when Carl Strikwerda left William & Mary to become president of Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania. Conley will officially begin as dean on July 1, 2012.

With more than 400 faculty, 6,400 undergraduate and graduate students, 80 staff members, 12 graduate programs and 35 undergraduate departments and interdisciplinary programs, Arts & Sciences is the largest academic unit on campus. As the chief academic officer, the dean reports to the provost and is responsible for  overall leadership and strategy. This includes academic planning, faculty recruitment and development and resource allocation.

“I am delighted to be joining the College of William & Mary, an institution I admire,” Conley said. “I have been very impressed with the high caliber of the faculty, the seriousness of the student body, and the beauty of the campus as well as the surrounding community of Williamsburg.  I greatly look forward to working with the faculty and the administration as Dean of Arts and Sciences.”

Conley graduated cum laude in 1979 from Harvard University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in English. She has earned two master’s degrees in French (1988 from the University of Colorado and 1990 from the University of Pennsylvania), and also received an honorary master’s degree from Dartmouth in 2007. In 1992, she received a Ph.D. in French from the University of Pennsylvania.

Conley has served on the Dartmouth faculty since 1992. From 2006 to 2011, Conley served as associate dean at Dartmouth and was responsible for 14 departments and approximately 300 faculty. Previously, she served as chair of the Department of French and Italian at Dartmouth.

Dartmouth Provost Carol Folt said Conley is an “outstanding scholar, inspiring teacher, and excellent administrator.”

“She is highly respected by the Dartmouth faculty and staff for the depth of her understanding of their work and needs and her fairness, humor, and warmth,” Folt added. “Working with her has been a pleasure, and although she will be greatly missed, we all know she will have a powerful impact on the Arts & Sciences at William & Mary.”

During her time at Dartmouth, Conley received a number of awards and fellowships, including the Jacobus Family Fellowship (2004-05), Senior Faculty Fellowship (2005) and the J. Kenneth Huntington Memorial Award (2004). She was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa in 2009. Conley is also the author or co-editor of numerous books and articles, publishing widely on the surrealist movement, French poetry, and women’s studies.  Her current research explores “surrealist ghostliness” in film, photography, painting, sculpture, and writing.

“Kate Conley comes to William & Mary with impeccable academic and administrative credentials,” said Provost Michael R. Halleran. “She is a teacher and scholar of the first order and understands the liberal arts deeply. She has been extremely successful at Dartmouth, one of our closest peer institutions, and that experience will serve her very well at William & Mary. We are very fortunate to have Kate Conley as our new Arts & Sciences dean.”