Changes in academic leadership

This spring, President Joanne Berger-Sweeney announced some significant changes in the Office of the Dean of the Faculty, the result of outstanding professional opportunities for two administrators. Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs Tim Cresswell has been named the Ogilvie Chair in Human Geography at the University of Edinburgh. Melanie Stein, dean of academic affairs and professor of mathematics, has been named dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences (H&S) at Ithaca College. Both Cresswell and Stein will begin their new roles on July 1.

President Joanne Berger-Sweeney, in an announcement to the college community, noted the significance of Cresswell’s new role. “The Ogilvie Chair is one of a small handful of named chairs in geography, awarded to geographers with outstanding research profiles,” she said. “The chair is currently occupied by the retiring Professor Charles Withers, the Geographer Royal for Scotland.”

Cresswell came to Trinity in 2016 from Northeastern University, where he served as associate dean for faculty affairs in the College of Social Sciences and Humanities, professor of history and international affairs, and associate director for public humanities at the Northeastern Humanities Center. While here, Cresswell played a key role in the development of the college’s new mission statement and strategic plan, as well as the launch of the Liberal Arts Action Lab and the Center for Hartford Engagement and Research.

Sonia Cardenas, vice president for strategic initiatives and innovation and dean of academic affairs, will step in as the college’s interim chief academic officer. (Cardenas spoke with The Trinity Reporter earlier this year about her promotion to vice president; you’ll find a Q&A with her on page 20.) Berger-Sweeney said next steps in finding a permanent replacement would begin during the spring semester.

Stein, a valued member of the Trinity community for 24 years, is a former chair of the Mathematics Department. In 2015–16, she served as interim dean of the faculty and had spent the three years before that as an associate academic dean. Berger-Sweeney, in a separate announcement, trumpeted Stein’s influence at Trinity. “It is impossible to quantify her impact on Trinity, but it is unquestionably profound and positive,” Berger-Sweeney said. “She has made our community stronger and leaves a legacy of leadership through collaboration, respect, fairness, and integrity.”