The Executive Committee holds major decision-making authority for the Arts and Sciences and its constituent schools. It is composed of the Dean and Executive Vice President for Arts and Sciences, the Dean of Columbia College and the Dean of the Graduate School for Arts and Sciences.
Amy E. Hungerford is the Ruth Fulton Benedict Professor of English and Comparative Literature and serves as Dean and Executive Vice President of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. A scholar of American literature, her first two monographs explore literary engagements with genocide and with religion in the 20th century. Her most recent book, Making Literature Now, examines how social networks—both virtual and traditional—shape contemporary writers’ creative choices and the choices we make about reading. Her current research and writing is about the sociable qualities of solitude. Ongoing work as co-editor of the post-1945 volume of the Norton Anthology of American Literature serves students around the country for whom it is a central course text; her popular, and free, online course, “The American Novel Since 1945,” is enjoyed worldwide.
Carlos J. Alonso is the Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and Morris A. and Alma Schapiro Professor in the Humanities in the Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures. Prior to serving as dean he was chair of the department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures from 2005-10, and was Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society for four years. He arrived at Columbia in the fall of 2005 from the University of Pennsylvania, where he was the Edwin B. and Leonore R. Williams Professor of Romance Languages.
Dean Alonso received his B.A. from Cornell in Spanish and Latin American Literature and went on to Yale to complete his M.A. and Ph.D. in Latin American literature He is the author of Modernity and Autochthony: The Spanish American Regional Novel, and The Burden of Modernity: The Rhetoric of Cultural Discourse in Spanish America, and editor of Julio Cortázar: New Readings. He was also the editor of PMLA—arguably the premier journal of literary criticism and theory—during 2000-03, and edited the Hispanic Review in 2003-06, a period that ushered in changes that led to an award in 2005 for best journal design by the Council of Editors of Learned Journals. While at Penn, Dean Alonso was the recipient of a Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching, the university's highest award for pedagogical excellence.
Dean Alonso specializes in 19th and 20th-century Latin American intellectual history and cultural production, and in contemporary literary and cultural theory. He has taught recently the required graduate seminar on Literary and Cultural Theory and the course Theories of Culture in Latin America. Under his editorship the department's Revista Hispánica Moderna received the 2009 Council of Editors of Learned Journals Phoenix Award for Significant Editorial Achievement.
Josef Sorett, Dean of Columbia College, Henry L. and Lucy G. Moses Professor and Vice President for Undergraduate Education; and Professor of Religion and African American and African Diaspora Studies at Columbia University
Josef Sorett serves as dean of Columbia College, the Henry L. and Lucy G. Moses Professor and Vice President for Undergraduate Education at Columbia University. As the College’s chief academic and executive officer, Dean Sorett’s central focus is to ensure that students have the best possible experience inside and outside the classroom. The dean oversees the College curriculum, as well as the other academic, co-curricular and programmatic services that form the foundation of the undergraduate experience at the College.
Prior to his current roles, Dean Sorett chaired the Department of Religion; directed the Center on African-American Religion, Sexual Politics & Social Justice; and was director of undergraduate studies in the Departments of Religion and African American and African Diaspora Studies. A recipient of Columbia’s Lenfest Distinguished Faculty Award (2018) and Presidential Award for Teaching Excellence (2022), he has also sat on numerous departmental and University-wide committees, councils and boards, including the Joint Committee on Instruction, which oversees the College and General Studies, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Policy Planning Committee, and the Inclusive Public Safety Advisory Committee.
As an interdisciplinary scholar of religion and race in the Americas, Dean Sorett employs primarily historical and literary approaches to the study of religion in Black communities and cultures in the United States, straddling the disciplines of history, literature, religion, art and music. His first book, Spirit in the Dark: A Religious History of Racial Aesthetics, illuminates how religion has figured in debates about Black art and culture across the 20th century. In addition to editing the recently released volume The Sexual Politics of Black Churches, Dean Sorett’s second book, Black is a Church: Christianity and the Contours of (African) American Life, was published in 2023. He is working on a third, There’s a God on the Mic: Hip Hop’s (Surprising) Religious History.
Dean Sorett’s courses, including those in the Core Curriculum, African-American Studies, and gospel music, are immensely popular. In his classrooms, students grapple with profound questions about culture, identity, and race. They are challenged to think freely and critically about the people and ideas that have shaped our world.
Prior to joining Columbia’s faculty in 2009, Dean Sorett was a fellow at Harvard’s W.E.B. Du Bois Research Institute. He earned a B.S. from Oral Roberts University, an M.Div. in religion and literature from Boston University and a Ph.D. in African American studies from Harvard.