Following former Provost John Coatsworth’s decision to step down after an eight-year tenure and the appointment of Amy Hungerford, current dean of humanities for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Yale, as executive vice president for Arts and Sciences and dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences for the upcoming year, Columbia approaches a critical juncture for its future.
The Faculty of Arts and Sciences, a coalition of schools within the University umbrella, is comprised of Columbia College, the School of General Studies, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the School of the Arts, and the School of Professional Studies. The new executive vice president will be charged with overseeing Arts and Sciences faculty recruitment and retention, as well as fundraising and budgeting for a group of schools that has been notoriously cash- and space-strapped.
Hungerford, a 20th- and 21st-century American literature scholar, will also take the helm at a critical point for humanities departments, who have seen declining enrollments across the nation.
Coatsworth’s position will be temporarily occupied by recently-appointed Interim Provost and Ruggles Professor of Political Science and History Ira Katznelson, CC ’66. Katznelson will serve as the chief academic officer for the University and will be responsible for setting a direction for academic policies, supervising departments, and setting tuition and budgets for the upcoming fiscal year.
He will also have to address perennial frustrations from the Arts and Sciences faculty about the set ceiling on faculty hires following Coatsworth’s implementation of the Timely Replacement Policy. The latter was instituted in response to a number of concerns that faculty size would shrink due to delays in new hires.
Both administrators are poised to make significant decisions regarding the resources allocated to faculty and departments, potentially changing the University’s academic landscape.