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Lehigh names new dean for College of Arts and Sciences

Donald E. Hall, who officially starts as the Herbert J. and Ann L. Siegel Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences on July 28, said he was “incredibly impressed by the love that every member of the Lehigh family has for this wonderful institution."

Donald E. Hall, Jackson Distinguished Professor and the current chair of the department of English at West Virginia University, has been named the new Herbert J. and Ann L. Siegel Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, effective July 28, 2011.

Hall succeeds Anne Meltzer, who announced in September 2010 that she was stepping down from the position she held for seven years and returning to the faculty in the department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

Hall expressed excitement about joining Lehigh, saying that he shares with the university “commitments to community outreach, global awareness and interdisciplinary collaboration, which provide a strong foundation for future successes.”

He said that in the coming months and years, he plans to build on “our clear recognition of the profound value that diversity of identity, background and perspective bring to the educational process and our academic community. As we craft a college strategic plan, those are the touchstones which we will continue to reference and which will allow us to establish concrete goals for the next five to 10 years.”

Lehigh President Alice P. Gast said that, in addition to being an outstanding scholar, Professor Hall is “a thought leader in higher education administration with important contributions to our views on teaching abroad, graduate education, academic careers and international curricula.”

Patrick V. Farrell, provost and vice president for academic affairs, said that Hall will bring stellar academic credentials to his new role, as well as a strong vision for success.

“Throughout the selection process,” Farrell said, “many people commented on the strength of his ideas and his potential to provide creative and innovative leadership for the college and the university.”
 
Gary M. Sasso, dean of the College of Education and chair of the search committee, echoed Farrell’s comments.

“We were consistently impressed by the long-range vision he articulated for the college, and we were pleased he has decided to join the Lehigh family,” Sasso said.

A welcoming community of scholars

Hall was selected following a national search that brought several candidates to the campus to meet with faculty and staff at open meetings. Following successive visits to campus, Hall said that he was “incredibly impressed by the love that every member of the Lehigh family has for this wonderful institution.  I have never met a more welcoming, enthusiastic and positive group of individuals.  I am joining a great community of teachers, scholars, staff members and administrators.”

Hall joined West Virginia University in 2004, also serving as chair of the department of Foreign Languages.  Prior to that, he was chair of the department of English at California State University, Northridge, and had served previously as coordinator of the Humanities Interdisciplinary Studies Program and Interim Associate Dean at that institution. 

He has published widely in the fields of British studies, cultural studies, and professional studies, and has written 10 books. His most recent books are: The Academic Community:  A Manual for Change (Ohio State University Press) and Reading Sexualities:  Hermeneutic Theory and the Future of Queer Studies (Routledge). 

Hall is a recipient of the University Distinguished Teaching Award at CSUN, was a visiting professor at the National University of Rwanda, a 2001 Lansdowne Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the University of Victoria, Canada, and was Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Cultural Studies at Karl Franzens University in Graz, Austria, for 2004-05. He also served as a Fulbright Specialist at the University of Helsinki, Finland in 2006 and at Karl Franzens University in 2010.

“I am very excited about this opportunity to serve as Lehigh University's next Herbert J. and Ann L. Siegel Dean of Arts and Sciences,” said Hall from his office at WVU. “Lehigh is a superb institution with a stellar College of Arts and Sciences, one that I will proudly champion.”

Farrell commended Meltzer for her accomplishments as dean. “Under Meltzer’s tenure, the College of Arts and Sciences saw the development of South Mountain College and the global studies major, and the creation of the Council on the Arts,” he said.

Meltzer also led the college during the development and implementation of the $85-million STEPS initiative, which created a collaborative, multidisciplinary platform for undergraduate and graduate education and world-class research. The program is housed in the new, state-of–the-art STEPS building, a green facility that was constructed adjacent to Maginnes Hall and was officially dedicated in March.

Story by Linda Harbrecht

Posted on Wednesday, May 18, 2011

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