Dean of the School of International and Public Affairs Lisa Anderson will resign at the end of this academic year, University officials confirmed Thursday.
Anderson, appointed to her position in 1997, told SIPA officials and students in August that she would leave her job at the conclusion of the 2006-2007 school term, SIPA Communications Director Robert Garris said. The University will begin putting together a search committee for her replacement in the next few weeks.
"There are a number of reasons for her decision," he said, noting that Anderson has served the school for a decade. According to Garris, Anderson wanted to step down before the University launched its $4 billion capital campaign because the project would take several years to complete.
Garris also said that Anderson's decision to resign came long before she invited Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to campus. Ahmadinejad's visit was called off last Thursday because the University could not orchestrate the security necessary for such a high-profile guest on short notice.
Professor Andrew Nathan, former chair of the political science department, said Anderson has made many contributions to the school during her tenure.
"She was great to work with," Nathan said. "She was always willing to work with departments for hiring."
Anderson joined the SIPA faculty in 1986 as a professor of Middle Eastern and North African studies. Before she was appointed to the position of dean, she served as chair of Columbia's political science department. She also directed Columbia's Middle East Institute from 1990 to 1993.
Anderson is the sixth dean of the school, which opened in 1946. Calls made to her office after 5 p.m. were not returned.