Campus & Community

Kirby names Sorensen humanities dean for 2006-2007

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Current dean Maria Tatar to take sabbatical in coming year

Diane Sorensen will be dean for the humanities in the FAS for the coming academic year. (Staff file photo Rose Lincoln/Harvard News Office)

Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) Dean William C. Kirby has appointed Diana Sorensen dean for the humanities in the FAS for the coming academic year while current Dean Maria Tatar is on sabbatical. Sorensen will assume her new duties on July 1.

“I am delighted that Professor Sorensen has agreed to serve as the humanities divisional dean,” Kirby said. “With her strong background in academic leadership as a department chair and dean at Wesleyan, she is ideally suited for this position. Further, having served as co-chair of the Concentrations Committee of the Curricular Review, and as a member of the Committee on General Education, she has already made significant contributions to FAS,” he said. “I would also like to thank Maria Tatar for her service as dean for the humanities during the last three years. She has served wisely and skillfully as the first incumbent of this position, and I am very grateful for her leadership and vision, past, present, and future.”

As divisional dean, Sorensen, James F. Rothenberg Professor of Romance Languages and Literature and of Comparative Literature, will support the needs of FAS faculty, manage resources, assist with academic planning across departments, and help to foster creative connections within and across the major academic divisions. She will also advise the dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences on the allocation of incremental faculty positions and on broad priorities within the humanities. And she will work with department chairs to ensure that faculty searches produce outstanding and diverse candidates, Kirby said.

Sorensen will also serve, effective July 1, as senior adviser to the provost for the arts and the humanities. In that role, she will become a member of the University’s Arts and Culture Steering Committee, which is developing a proposal for an arts initiative in Allston. She will also act as liaison between the provost and his staff and the FAS administration on matters related to the arts and culture. Finally, the senior adviser will provide advice to the provost and his staff on requests for funding or appointments in the area of the arts and humanities. Sorensen will serve in this advisory role for the duration of her appointment as dean for the humanities in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

“Professor Sorensen will bring to these positions a strong record of scholarship, teaching, and administration,” Kirby said.

A leader in Latin American literary and cultural studies, Sorensen came to Harvard in 2001 from Columbia University. Before that, at Wesleyan University, she had served as chair of her department, chair of the Latin American Studies Program, and dean of the arts and humanities.  At Harvard, she became the James F. Rothenberg Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures and of Comparative Literature in 2003.