Columbia University

Faculty of Arts and Sciences

February 2015 Newsletter

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Dear Friends and Colleagues,

The recent announcement of the Distinguished Faculty Award recipients reminds us of the rich diversity of faculty and scholarship we have within the Arts and Sciences. This is something in which we take great pride. We are also proud to celebrate Black History Month by highlighting members of the Columbia community who have left an indelible impact on our world. These include: President Barack Obama, CC'83; U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder, CC'73, LAW'76; Kenneth B. Clark, GSAS'40, and Mamie Phipps Clark, GSAS'43 (whose research challenged the notion of differences in the mental abilities of black and white children and thus played an important role in the desegregation of American schools); and Gov. David A. Paterson, CC’77, who represented Harlem as a state senator from 1985 until 2007. We celebrate these, as well as many other alumni, on a special site commemorating Black History Month.  



Carlos Alonso
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
Vice President for Graduate Education
Morris A. and Alma Schapiro Professor in The Humanities
David Madigan
Executive Vice President and
Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Professor of Statistics
James Valentini
Dean of Columbia College 
Vice President for Undergraduate Education
Henry L. and Lucy G. Moses Professor of Chemistry


EVP David Madigan presented the Arts and Sciences budget at the faculty meeting on January 22 and at the chairs meeting on January 29. The annual budget presentation is meant to provide a clear and informed look at the overall state of the Arts and Sciences finances. We welcomed Provost John Coatsworth and SEVP Robert Kasdin at the faculty meeting and Provost Coatsworth made a presentation about the central university budget 

University Forum on Global Columbia

A new website was recently launched to stimulate a campus-wide conversation about “Global Columbia.” The site features an interactive discussion board, as well as thought pieces concerning an array of global issues that impact the faculty. The central questions concern what it means to be a “global university” and how Columbia should evolve in an interconnected world. We encourage you to contribute to shaping this conversation.

Global Support Website

In a continuing effort to assist faculty members, researchers, students and staff to better manage their overseas activities, the university has developed a Global Support website. The website provides practical information on a wide range of issues faced by Columbia employees either traveling or based in foreign countries – e.g., hiring staff, contracting with vendors, purchasing equipment, and accessing services. All Arts and Sciences employees planning an overseas trip of any kind are encouraged to review the site.

Academic Commons Campaign

The Academic Commons is a program aimed at increasing the exposure and dissemination of research to a broad audience including the general public. The Arts and Sciences is partnering with the Columbia libraries to increase Academic Commons usage. You can take the first step to deposit your work here. More information about the program can be found here

Junior Faculty Forum, Junior Faculty Mixer

The second annual Junior Faculty Forum was held on Wednesday, February 18th. The forum discussed issues that pertain specifically to  junior faculty, such as mentoring (at the departmental and university levels), tenure processes, ongoing work/life issues such as schooling, childcare and housing, and recent JFAB activities and accomplishments. Also, the Arts and Sciences will be hosting the spring Junior Faculty Mixer on Thursday, February 26th from 4:00 to 6:30 p.m. at Faculty House. Spouses and children are welcome to attend.

Staffing Updates

Within the office of the Executive Vice President, Pamela Tan, director of HR has assumed the role of manager of academic appointments and Tanique Dunkley has joined the office as the senior assistant vice president for human resources. At Columbia College/SEAS, Cristen Kromm has been named the new Dean of Undergraduate Student Life. Samantha Shapses has joined GSAS as Associate Dean of Students.  

Visit the Faculty of Arts and Sciences website at


Fredrick Harris: Racial Inequality after Racism   

John McWhorter: Start a Revolution Against the War on Drugs 

Adam Sobel: Wrong but Right About Winter Storm 



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