Columbia University

Faculty of Arts and Sciences


Meet the leaders of Columbia’s Science Initiative:

Dean of Science

Peter de Menocal is the Thomas Alva Edison/Con Edison Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences (DEES). He is a geological oceanographer who uses geochemical analyses of deep-sea sediments to understand how and why past climates have changed and how this has impacted human sustainability. He is the founding director of the Center for Climate and Life at Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, comprising more than 120 doctoral-level scientists working to understand climate change impacts on life’s essentials: our access to food, water, shelter, and energy. 
As Dean of Science, he oversees 215 faculty members in the nine science departments within the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. He is committed to advancing the sciences at Columbia, fostering relationships with researchers and organizations across the university and around the world, and building the resources and capacity needed to support Columbia science and ensure its future impact. 
A former vice chair and chair of DEES and former vice chair of the Earth Institute faculty, Dean de Menocal is the author of more than 100 scientific papers and book chapters and his work has been featured in more than a dozen documentaries. He received his bachelor’s degree from St. Lawrence University, master’s in oceanography from the University of Rhode Island, and master’s and Ph.D. in geology from Columbia. He is the recipient of the Lenfest Columbia Distinguished Faculty Award, the Distinguished Brooksian Award, an honorary Doctor of Science degree from St. Lawrence, and is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union. 

Peter de Menocal 
[email protected] 
(845) 365-8483

Associate Dean of Science

David Zielinski is the associate dean of science for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. His responsibilities include aspects of faculty and postdoctoral affairs, research support, facilities development, and fundraising for the sciences. His work emphasizes research collaboration across departments and schools for the advancement of the Science Initiative and the Division of Science. A developmental psychologist by training, Dean Zielinski joined Columbia in 2014 after serving for nearly a decade as an official at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). While at the NIH, he oversaw strategic planning, organizational evaluation, science communication, and congressional relations in his roles at two Institutes – at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases as the science policy and planning chief and at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) as the acting science policy and evaluation chief and director of communications. During his tenure at the NIMH, he also oversaw the $25 million per annum Prevention and Treatment Trials Program as an officer in the Institute’s Division of Developmental Translational Research. He has long-standing interests in the intersection of science and public policy and, prior to his work at the NIH, served on the research faculty of Duke University’s Sanford Institute of Public Policy (now the Sanford School of Public Policy). Dean Zielinski received his bachelor’s degrees from Fordham and his master’s and Ph.D. from Cornell. He’s the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including those from the American Psychological Association, the National Consortium on Violence Research, and the NIH.

David Zielinski 
[email protected] 
(212) 851-9526