Columbia University

Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Policy and Planning Committee

The Policy and Planning Committee (PPC) is the only body elected to represent the Faculty of Arts and Sciences to the Arts and Sciences and university leadership. The committee consists of nine tenured faculty, six elected from a nominated slate (two from each division) and three chosen by and from the Department Chairs (one from each division). Elected members serve for three years.

The PPC participates in the process by which planning priorities are set and resources are allocated among the departments and schools comprising the Arts and Sciences. In addition, the PPC’s responsibilities include working with the Executive Vice President of Arts and Sciences (EVPAS) and the Deans to constitute, dissolve, and appoint members of standing committees, to evaluate reports on the work of these committees, to call and set agendas for faculty meetings, and to report to the faculty. The PPC also names the majority of the members of the search committee for the EVPAS.

The PPC is both a sounding board for new ideas and a source of creative ways to respond to Arts and Sciences challenges. The committee meets regularly with the Executive Committee (EC) and the Planning and Budget Committee (P&B); it also holds discussions with the President and Provost to address faculty concerns and influence university governance. Working closely with the Arts and Sciences administration, the PPC develops initiatives to improve faculty teaching, research and life.

2015-16 Meeting Dates:

09/30/2015, 12-2 – 555 Lerner Hall

10/21/2015, 12-1 - Faculty Room, Low Library

11/11/2015, 12-1 - Faculty Room, Low Library

12/09/2015, 12-1 - Faculty Room, Low Library 

01/27/2016, 12-1 - Faculty Room, Low Library

02/24/2016, 12-1 - Faculty Room, Low Library

03/30/2016, 12-1 - Faculty Room, Low Library

04/27/2016, 12-1 - Faculty Room, Low Library


Committee Members 2015-2016


PPC MEMBERS 2015-2016

*Donald R. Davis


David Lurie

East Asian Languages and Culture

Shahid Naeem


Brendan  O’Flaherty


David Schiminovich, Chair


*Liang Tong


Marc Van De Mieroop


*Dorothea E. von Mücke


Gareth Williams


*Indicates representatives from the department chairs.


Donald R. Davis is the Ragnar Nurkse Professor of Economics and Chairman of the Department of Economics at Columbia University. He received his Bachelors Degree in Philosophy from the University of California at Berkeley and his PhD in Economics at Columbia. He previously held the positions of Assistant and Associate Professor of Economics at Harvard University before returning to Columbia. His research ranges over international trade, economic geography, economic development, and urban and regional economics. He has served on the editorial boards of the American Economic Review, the Journal of International Economics, and the Journal of Urban Economics. He is a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and member of the Executive Committee of the Urban Economics Association.

David Lurie is Associate Professor of Japanese History and Literature in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, where he has taught since 2002. Past administrative service includes five years as Director of Undergraduate Studies; he is currently serving as a member of the Global Core Committee and as Director of the Donald Keene Center of Japanese Culture. He specializes in the literary, cultural, and intellectual history of premodern Japan, with particular interests in the development of writing and literacy; the history of linguistic thought; and Japanese and comparative mythology. His first book, Realms of Literacy: Early Japan and the History of Writing, received the Lionel Trilling Award in 2012. In addition to working on a study of Japanese mythology, he has recently served as co-editor of the forthcoming Cambridge History of Japanese Literature, to which he also contributed chapters on myths, histories, gazetteers, and early literature in general.

Shahid Naeemthe current 2014-2015 PPC chair, is a professor of ecology and acting chair in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology (E3B). He studies the ecological and environmental consequences of biodiversity loss. He is interested in how changes in the distribution and abundance of plants, animals, and microbes, affect how ecosystems function and, by extension, how ecosystems services are affected. His work combines theoretical, observational, and experimental studies under field and laboratory conditions, to uncover the mechanistic bases for the impacts of biodiversity loss on ecosystems. His work has demonstrated how the loss of species from ecosystems affect their ability to resist invasion by other species, affect production and nutrient cycling, and affect the reliability and stability of ecosystems. He is actively involved in bringing the science of biodiversity and ecosystem functioning to conservation, restoration and policy development. His research at the Earth Institute is part of Translinks, a five-year Wildlife Conservation Society project that promotes economic growth in poverty-stricken regions around the world by linking development, governance and natural resource conservation to alleviate poverty


Brendan (Dan) O'Flaherty's research is mainly in urban economics, particularly homelessness, housing, and crime. He has published several books, most recently The Economics of Race in the United States (2015), and many papers. He serves on the research advisory council of the National Alliance to End Homelessness and has advised the NYC Department of Homeless Services. He has been director of graduate studies for the economics department for most of the last dozen years, and has served in other administrative capacities in the university. He has held several positions in Newark, including acting CFO for the city, and acting zoning officer. His study of the agency that managed Newark's watershed led to the dissolution of that agency and a continuing series of indictments. 

David Schiminovich received Ph.D. in Physics from Columbia after attending Yale as an undergraduate. Before his return as a professor in 2004, he was a postdoctoral research fellow at Caltech. His research interests in galaxy cosmology include understanding how galaxies such as our own Milky Way formed and evolved, and mapping the “cosmic web” where most of the atoms and dark matter in the Universe reside. Since 1997 he has been a lead scientist on the Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) satellite project. He is currently developing two new instruments, one for an on-going stratospheric balloon experiment and another for a ground-based telescope, both designed to discover faint light from the massive reservoirs of gas that feed into and flow out of galaxies. Recently he has also been developing the scientific motivation and design concept for the future replacement of the Hubble Space Telescope.

Liang Tong Liang Tong is Professor and Chair of the Department of Biological Sciences. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, was Senior Scientist and then Principal Scientist at Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Ridgefield, CT, before joining Columbia in 1997. His research focuses on structural, biochemical and functional studies of metabolic enzymes with links to human diseases, and proteins involved in RNA recognition, processing, quality control, and degradation.

Marc Van De Mieroop is a Professor in the History Department. In his research he concentrates on the Middle East in early antiquity (the Ancient Near East) and he writes on many different aspects of the cultures of this region –economic, social, political, and intellectual. His books include basic surveys (A History of Ancient Egypt, A History of the Ancient Near East) as well as focused studies (The Ancient Mesopotamian City, King Hammurabi of Babylon). He teaches a wide array of courses on the ancient histories of Mesopotamia and Egypt and has recently started to teach world history. Having arrived at Columbia in the 1980s he has chaired the departments of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures and of History, and has served on numerous committees.

Dorothea E. von Mücke holds a Ph. D. in Comparative Literature from Stanford University and has been teaching at Columbia since 1988. She has held visiting professorships in Berlin and Giessen. Representative courses: Eighteenth-Century Semiotics and Aesthetics, Heinrich von Kleist, Rousseau and Goethe, The Romantic Fantastic, Paradigms of Feminist Scholarship, Survey of Eighteenth-Century Literature, Literature and Psychoanalysis, Enlightenment and Religion, Faust and Media, Classical Drama. She has published the following books: Virtue and the Veil of Illusion. Generic Innovation and the Pedagogical Project in Eighteenth-Century Literature (Stanford University Press, 1991); with Veronica Kelly (ed. and intro.), Body and Text in the Eighteenth Century (Stanford University Press, 1994); and The Seduction of the Occult and the Rise of the Fantastic Tale (Stanford University Press, 2003). She is a coeditor of the New History of German Literature (Harvard University Press, 2004). Most recently she has completed a study about changing models of authorship and creativity in the arts and sciences during the long eighteenth century. Entitled, The Practices of the Enlightenment. Aesthetics, Authorship and the Public, this book is forthcoming with Columbia University Press in May 2015.

Gareth Williams, Violin Family Professor of Classics, is a specialist in Greco-Roman literature who has published various monographs on subjects ranging from the exilic writings of the poet Ovid to Roman writing on Stoic ethical and natural philosophy, with a particular focus on the thought of the eminent first-century CE Roman philosopher-politician Seneca; current research focuses on the reception of Latin literary culture in Renaissance Venice. He has taught at Columbia since 1992, and has served on the Columbia College Committee on Instruction, as Chair of the Department of Classics (2000-2006), as Chair of the Literature Humanities component of the Columbia College core curriculum (2007-10, 2012-13), and as a member of various other bodies including the Academic Review Committee (2004-6).

Policy and Planning Committee, 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15

In its inaugural year, in 2010, the Policy and Planning Committee (PPC) membership was established in September and the election from the nominated slate yielded three members (rather than six), one from each division. For continuity and in recognition of the important work by ECFAS, three inaugural members of the PPC (one from each division) were chosen by and from the 2009-10 ECFAS membership. As per the Stated Rules three PPC members were chosen by and from the Chairs. The complete 2010-11 and 2011-12 PPC rosters are given below.

Peter Bearman, 2010-11
Yinon Cohen, 2012-13, 2013,2014
E. Valentine Daniel, 2012-13, 2013-2014
Robert Jervis, 2010-11, 2011-12, 2013-2014 
Michael Riordan, 2010-11, 2011-12 
Gregory J. Wawro, 2014-15
Virginia Page Fortna, 2014-15
Jack Snyder, PPC Co-Chair, 2011-12, PPC Co-Chair 2012-13, PPC Co-Chair 2013-14

Teodolinda Barolini, PPC Chair 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13 
Nicholas Dames, 2012-13, 2013-2014
Jean E. Howard, 2010-11 
Cathy Popkin, PPC Co-Chair, 2011-12, PPC Co-Chair 2012-13, PPC Co-Chair 2013-14
Wayne Proudfoot, 2010-11 
Phil Watts, 2011-12
Madeleine Zelin, 2013-14, 2014-15
Alan G. Stewart, 2014-15

Ruth DeFries, 2010-11
Stuart Firestein, 2012-13
Robert Friedman, 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14
Ann McDermott, PPC Vice Chair 2010-11, PPC Chair 2011-12, PPC Chair 2012-13 
Shahid Naeem, PPC Vice Chair 2013-2014, PPC Chair 2014-15
Frits Paerels, 2013-14
William Zajc, 2010-11, 2011-12
Liang Tong, 2014-15


In 2008-09 and 2009-10 the Faculty of Arts and Sciences undertook a review of faculty governance, spearheaded by the Executive Committee of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (ECFAS) and carried out by the Academic Review Committee (ARC). In spring 2010 the recommendations of the ARC review were shared with the entire Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Fruitful consultations between ECFAS, ARC, Department Chairs, Administration, and Faculty informed the entire process.

A subsequent vote of the whole faculty was held to amend the Stated Rules of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and thereby implement one of the recommendations of the review: to replace the form of faculty governance exercised by ECFAS with a new faculty committee to be called the Policy and Planning Committee. The proposed amendment to the Stated Rules passed in April 2010. The names of past members of the PPC are found at the bottom of the "Members" tab.