Mailman School of Public Health professor and School of General Studies alumna Lisa Rosen-Metsch, GS ’90, will serve as the new dean of General Studies, according to an email sent by University President Lee Bollinger on Tuesday.
Rosen-Metsch will replace Peter Awn, who was widely known as a popular leader among students and faculty. Awn announced last November that he would step down at the end of the last academic year, but after the search process took longer than expected, Awn stayed on for an extra semester.
As dean, Rosen-Metsch will look to tackle a number of challenges that face the school, including expanding financial aid and bringing in a large naming gift. Unlike Columbia College, General Studies admissions are not need-blind.
Bollinger said in an email to students that Rosen-Metsch’s experience as a General Studies student would help her succeed in the new position.
“As an alumna of the joint program between General Studies and Jewish Theological Seminary, Lisa knows [General Studies] well,” Bollinger said. “We are fortunate to have Professor Lisa Rosen-Metsch join our outstanding group of University Deans.”
In 1990, Rosen-Metsch graduated from the joint program between General Studies and the Jewish Theological Seminary with degrees in sociology, history, and philosophy. She later completed a Ph.D. in medical sociology at the University of Florida and is known for her work on HIV prevention in populations with substance use disorders.
Metsch previously served as the chair of the Department of Sociomedical Sciences at the School of Public Health and serves on the executive committee of Columbia’s Center for Justice.
President Bollinger’s email can be read in full below:
Dear fellow members of the Columbia community:
I am writing to announce the appointment of Lisa Rosen-Metsch, currently the Stephen Smith Professor and Chair of the Department of Sociomedical Sciences at the Mailman School of Public Health, as the next Dean of the School of General Studies. The School is, of course, unique in higher education, and as an alumna of the joint program between General Studies and Jewish Theological Seminary, Lisa knows it well. Following her time at Columbia, she completed her doctoral studies at the University of Florida.
Lisa is an internationally recognized scholar in the prevention of HIV among populations with substance use disorders. Her research has helped to re-shape national policy for the care and treatment of HIV, including through the design and testing of new strategies for expanding the reach of testing and the level of engagement of vulnerable populations. One current project focuses upon implementing and testing a mobile HIV treatment and prevention clinic to serve low income neighborhoods in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Her pioneering research in the field has resulted in more than 180 peer-reviewed publications. During Lisa’s time as Chair of the Sociomedical Sciences Department, she advocated locating public health within social, cultural, economic, historical, and political contexts. She presently serves on the executive committee of the Center for Justice, an interdisciplinary initiative dedicated to refocusing the criminal justice system on prevention and healing.
I want to take yet another opportunity to express my deepest gratitude to Dean Peter Awn, for his extraordinary and longstanding commitment to the School of General Studies. With his typical generosity, he agreed to stay on as dean beyond his planned departure so that we could take the time needed to find a worthy successor. I also want to thank the members of the search committee, my co-chair David Madigan, Executive Vice President for Arts and Sciences and Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and all those whose views contributed to this announcement, including the students and alumni who have provided invaluable guidance during the process. We are fortunate to have Professor Lisa Rosen-Metsch join our outstanding group of University deans.
Lee C. Bollinger
email@example.com | @ColumbiaSpec