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Catherine Gunther Kodat named college dean

March 30, 2015

President Barry Glassner announced today that Catherine Gunther Kodat will become the new dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Kodat, who currently serves as acting provost and professor of humanities at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, will begin in July. She previously was director of the American Studies Program at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York.

“I could not be more pleased that Katie is joining us to lead the College of Arts and Sciences. Her deep commitment to the liberal arts, combined with her appreciation for the full range of disciplines in the CAS, positions us well for the future. I am grateful to the search committee for their diligent work, as well as the faculty and staff who shared with me observations about the candidates,” said President Glassner.

Kodat has been at the University of the Arts since 2012, where she previously served as dean of the Division of Liberal Arts and acting director of the Film and Media Studies Program. At Hamilton College, she was also chair of the Department of English and Creative Writing and received Hamilton’s Class of 1963 Excellence in Teaching Award.

Her work on twentieth-century literature and culture has appeared in journals such as Representations, American QuarterlyBoston Review, and Mosaic. A volume on the work of William Faulkner is in progress, and this year Rutgers University Press published her book Don’t Act, Just Dance: The Metapolitics of Cold War Culture.

Kodat said that she had long heard about Lewis & Clark, so she was intrigued when nominated for the position of Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “As I learned more about the college, that curiosity rapidly turned into admiration, and over the course of my campus visit in February, that admiration grew into unbridled enthusiasm,” she said.

“Lewis & Clark has it all: nationally prominent, illustrious faculty; wonderfully gifted, big-hearted students; a talented, dedicated team of staff and administrators; and a campus of almost unworldly beauty. I’m extremely excited to be joining a college with such longstanding commitments to international education, social justice, and environmental stewardship.

“It’s a thrill and a tremendous honor to have been given this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help make this great college even greater,” she said.

An inaugural recipient of a Millicent C. McIntosh Flexible Fellowship from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, Kodat has been a research fellow at the Rothermere American Institute at the University of Oxford and Fulbright lecturer in American studies at Eötvös Loránd Tudományegyetem (ELTE) in Budapest.

Kodat received a BA in English from the University of Baltimore and a PhD in English from Boston University. She began her undergraduate education at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, where she studied piano. Early in her career, Kodat wrote for the Baltimore City Paper and then the Baltimore Sun, where she was a metro desk reporter and the paper’s chief dance critic.

Kodat’s appointment concludes a search that began last summer under the direction of a ten-member search committee, with assistance from the firm Isaacson, Miller.

The following faculty members and student representative constituted the search committee:

  • Naiomi Cameron (chair), associate professor of mathematics
  • Brenda Barnum CAS ’15
  • Cliff Bekar, associate professor of economics
  • Keith Dede, associate professor of Chinese
  • Leah Gilbert, assistant professor of political science
  • Anna Gonzalez, dean of students
  • Janis Lochner, Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr. Professor of Science
  • Dawn Odell, associate professor of art history
  • Tung Yin, professor of law
  • Jane Atkinson (ex officio), vice president, provost, and professor of anthropology

“To Jerusha Detweiler-Bedell, I wish to express my deep appreciation for her great work as interim dean this past year,” said President Glassner. “Her leadership has provided us a steady place from which to move forward.”