Marilyn Schuster Named Provost and Dean of Faculty at Smith
NORTHAMPTON, Mass.—Smith College President Carol T. Christ has announced the appointment of Marilyn R. Schuster, the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities and a professor in the college’s Program for the Study of Women and Gender, as the next provost and dean of the faculty. Schuster succeeds Susan Bourque, Esther Booth Wiley Professor of Government, who has served in the post since 2001. Schuster will begin a four-year term on July 1, 2009.
“Marilyn Schuster has a record of distinguished scholarly achievement and curricular innovation,” Christ said in an announcement to the Smith faculty. Noting that Schuster has served on virtually every committee of the college, most recently as the chair of Faculty Council, Christ said that Schuster has been deeply involved in the development of the college’s strategic plan, “The Smith Design for Learning.”
“Marilyn’s vision, understanding of the critical issues, and creative ideas for addressing the challenges that confront us impressed me deeply,” said Christ. Schuster was selected from among several highly qualified finalists for the position, Christ observed, “each of whom enjoyed strong support from members of the faculty.”
Schuster came to Smith in 1971, after graduating from Mills College and earning a master’s and doctoral degree in French language and literature from Yale University. Her teaching and research has focused on contemporary women’s literature, gender studies and queer studies. She has also collaborated with Smith colleague Susan Van Dyne, chair of the Program for the Study of Women and Gender, on curriculum transformation in a liberal arts curriculum and ways to create productive learning climates for women and students of color.
Schuster is the author and editor of three books: “Women’s Place in the Academy: Transforming the Liberal Arts Curriculum” (with Van Dyne); “Marguerite Duras Revisited”; and “Passionate Communities: Reading Lesbian Resistance in Jane Rule’s Fiction.”
As provost and dean of the faculty, Schuster will be Smith’s chief academic officer and second in command to Christ. She will have oversight of all academic programs, graduate and undergraduate; will chair the Committee on Academic Priorities; and will sit on all of the college’s major committees, including the Committee on Tenure and Promotion. As a member of Christ’s senior administrative group, she will play a central role in promoting and sustaining excellence in teaching, scholarship and service, providing leadership in fulfilling Smith’s strategic goals.
Smith College educates women of promise for lives of distinction. One of the largest women’s colleges in the United States, Smith enrolls 2,800 students from nearly every state and 62 other countries.