Stepping from the Ivy League to the College

Katharine Conley will serve as the new Dean of Arts and Sciences at the College of William and Mary beginning in July.

Conley was selected from a pool of five candidates. She was formerly the Associate Dean of the Faculty for the Arts and Humanities at Dartmouth College where she is the current Edward Tuck Professor of French and Comparative Literature.

“It is a wonderful opportunity,” Conley said. “William and Mary is a fantastic institution with a great reputation that is well deserved.”

As dean, Conley will run the largest academic unit on campus that includes 6,400 undergraduate and graduate students, 80 staff members, 35 undergraduate departments and 12 graduate programs.

The dean reports directly to the provost and is responsible for overall administration and strategy of the numerous departments and people that compose the arts and sciences program. These responsibilities include hiring faculty, developing and allocating resources and planning curricula.

“During the search, she impressed us with her interest in William and Mary, her collegial manner, her understanding of what being a dean entails, and her readiness to do the job at William and Mary,” College President Taylor Reveley said.

Conley has been a member of the Dartmouth staff since 1992. During that time, she spent a portion of her career in surrealist studies, a cross-disciplinary area of research combining literature and art history. Conley has also served as associate dean at Dartmouth since 2006, where she was responsible for 14 departments and 300 faculty members.

“She has powerful credentials as a teacher, scholar and administrator. She cares deeply about the liberal arts and is committed to undergraduate, as well as graduate, education,” Reveley said. “This is just the sort of mix that’s important for a Dean of Arts and Sciences at William and Mary.”

When Conley visited campus in early February for an on-campus interview before the faculty, her interest in the position was crystallized to dedication.

“I was just so impressed with everyone when I came down to visit,” Conley said. “It has a terrific student body, a really engaged and wonderful faculty, a focus on liberal arts, and, of course, the beauty and history of the campus itself.”

Looking ahead, Conley plans to maintain the strong liberal arts foundation already established in the College’s history.

“I will work to maintain the strength of the liberal arts as the foundation of a college education and to sustain the very successful model that William and Mary has with the faculty that is at once seriously engaged in research and scholarship and seriously dedicated to teaching,” Conley said. “It’s a winning combination, in my opinion.”


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