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TO: University Senate

FROM: Dennis N. Assanis, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

DATE: September 9, 2013



After a competitive national search, Dr. Charles Taber has been selected to serve as the Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Dean of the Graduate School at Stony Brook University, effective September 1, 2013. During his 24 years at Stony Brook, Chuck Taber has served in many roles. He has been on the faculty at Stony Brook University since 1989 and is currently a Professor of Political Science. As Associate Dean and subsequently Interim Dean of the Graduate School, Chuck has been responsible for the development of new graduate programs, curricular changes to existing graduate programs, the Provost’s Graduate Student Lecture Series, China Interviews, new graduate student orientations, postdoctoral affairs, and working with the Graduate Council to update graduate policies. He has also served as undergraduate director and graduate director for the department of political science. He has chaired the University Graduate Council, the President’s Task Force on Graduate and Professional Student Housing, the Provost’s Task Force on Responsible Conduct of Research and Scholarship, and the Senate’s Subcommittee on the Master’s Initiative. Most recently, he served as Co-Chair of the Provost’s Task Force on Academic Assessment.

As the Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Dean of the Graduate School, Chuck will provide direction, support, oversight, and advocacy for graduate education across the University. These responsibilities include graduate admissions and records, program development and new initiatives, program evaluation, and strategic leadership for graduate education locally and among our national peers. Chuck Taber received his PhD from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, in 1991 and is a leading scholar in the fields of political psychology and computational modeling, with over 40 professional publications.


After more than 25 years of dedicated service to Stony Brook University, Dr. Paul Edelson stepped down as Dean of the School of Professional Development on August 31, 2013. Dr. Edelson will maintain his affiliation with the University over the next two years as Senior Director of the Lifelong Learning Project.

Effective September 1, 2013, Dr. Thomas Sexton, formerly the Associate Dean of the College of Business (COB), a role which he has served in for the past three years, has agreed to serve as the Interim Dean of the School of Professional Development until Paul's successor has been identified. As Associate Dean of the COB, Dr. Sexton oversaw all academics programs, directed curriculum development, and worked closely with the Dean on matters involving AACSB accreditation. Dr. Sexton has been a faculty member in the COB (and its predecessor the Harriman School) for 35 years, having served as Graduate Program Director for eight years and as Director of the Harriman School for more than eight years. He has also served on the School of Professional Development's Curriculum Committee for the past ten years. Dr. Sexton earned his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Stony Brook's Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics. As Interim Dean, Thomas Sexton will work closely with the Provost and the University’s senior leadership team in determining the future vision course for SPD at such an exciting time for Stony Brook University.


Dr. Eric Rabkin, the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of English Language and Literature, and of Art and Design, at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, joined Stony Brook University in the newly created position of Associate Provost for Online Education, effective September 1, 2013. The need for this new position was identified by a Provostial-University Senate task force which provided long- and short-term strategic recommendations with respect to sustainable online education initiatives.

Rabkin earned his B.A. in English from Cornell University in 1967 and his Ph.D. in English from the University of Iowa in 1970. His research interests include fantasy and science fiction, graphic narrative, and traditional literary criticism and theory. Known for his large, popular lecture courses on science fiction and fantasy, and for his many teaching innovations, Rabkin offered the world's first writing-intensive Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) through Coursera at the University of Michigan in 2012. He has extensive experience with MOOCs and their impact on higher education.

As Associate Provost for Online Education at Stony Brook, Rabkin will spearhead campus-wide efforts to elicit, develop, share, implement, and test a full range of ideas, teaching and learning methods in online education from the most basic and modular levels to the most thorough and far-reaching. He will work with SBU faculty and administration to support the creation of MOOCs under the current Open SUNYinstitutional arrangement with Coursera. He will also be charged with coordinating efforts to explore and support the implementation of various online educational options, including hybrid models employing onsite and online components, and credit- and non-credit-bearing educational experiences. He will help define and establish an Online Learning Laboratory (OLL) through which faculty can create and test online education ideas and resources, thus facilitating the integration of online education into the traditional teaching culture. In his role, he will be seeking faculty advice and input in many ways, including through the creation of an administrative structure for ongoing campus-wide deliberation and engagement.


Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author, Carl Bernstein, joined the faculty at Stony Brook University as Visiting Presidential Professor, beginning September 1 2013. Bernstein will co-teach and guest lecture with an interdisciplinary focus in courses for the School of Journalism and departments of English, History, Political Science, Sociology and Writing and Rhetoric, as well as give lectures for the campus and local communities. As part of the responsibilities associated with his appointment, Bernstein will also engage in development and fundraising initiatives on behalf of Stony Brook University.

In the 1970s, Bernstein and Bob Woodward became the most famous journalists in America when they exposed the Watergate story while working at The Washington Post, consequently bringing about the resignation of President Richard Nixon. Not only did they break the biggest story in American politics, they set the standard for modern investigative reporting and helped The Post win the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 1973. Bernstein and Woodward went on to document the story in two classic best-selling books, All The President’s Men - also a multiple Academy Award winning film - and The Final Days. Since Watergate, Bernstein’s career has had a continued focus on the use and abuse of power - political, media, financial, cultural and spiritual - in the prose he has created and the words he has spoken. He has written and lectured extensively about the inner-workings of government and politics, the American press, its role and its responsibilities. In addition to his writings, Bernstein is a frequent guest and analyst on television news programs. He is a former Washington Bureau chief and correspondent for ABC News, appears regularly on MSNBC’s Morning Joe and has been an on-air political analyst for CNN. Bernstein has several current projects underway, including a dramatic TV series about the U.S. Congress, another focused on rock and roll, a film project with director Steven Soderbergh and a memoir about growing up at The Evening Star, where he began his journalism career in Washington at age 16.

Humanities Institute at Stony Brook Among the Beneficiaries of an A.W. Mellon Foundation Grant to the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes (CHCI) a three-year grant of $1.2 million for Integrating the Humanities Across National Boundaries, an initiative designed to foster new forms of collaborative research and partnerships among the organization's international membership. The Humanities Institute at Stony Brook, a member organization of CHCI, is one of the beneficiaries of this grant. The Stony Brook team, comprised of faculty across the College of Arts and Sciences, is spearheaded by Professor E. Ann Kaplan.

The grant will support large-scale pilot projects through 2015 on Humanities for the Environment and Religion, Secularism, and Political Belonging. The major objective of these endeavors is to foster innovative programmatic ideas and new forms of collaborative research across national, regional, and disciplinary boundaries, driven by and involving CHCI's membership of over 180 humanities centers and institutes. These projects will help to identify new priorities and potential roles for CHCI, and explore the ways in which a networked consortium can foster scholarly innovation in the humanities on a global scale. The Humanities for the Environment (HfE) project will focus on questions about the role of the humanities in the Age of the Anthropocene, a concept developed by scientist Paul Crutzen to identify a new era in which human activity is significantly reshaping the geological future of the planet. With this support, the Humanities Institute at Stony Brook will also host eleven environmentally-themed events in fall 2013. The most significant events in the fall roster are the visits of Ramanchandra Guha, Elizabeth Kolbert, Sandra Steingraber and Konjian Yu, all of whom are "stars" in the field of environmental humanities, environmental injustice and the poor, and questions of humans as "geologic" force.


On Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 4:30 p.m. in the Humanities Building, Room 1006, we will host a lecture by Alice Major entitled “A Superposition of Brains.” Alice Major is a distinguished poet of Western Canada who has published nine award-winning and highly praised collections of poetry. Her most recent book is a collection of essays, Intersecting Sets: A Poet Looks at Science. In this talk, Alice will discuss how popular stereotypes assume that there are profound differences in the ways artists and scientists think. But poets and math majors both use the same basic brain set-up that has been evolving for billions of years, and share the same equipment for processing data from the world and creating meaning out of it. Human cognition can be thought of as a superposition of states, in which ‘artistic’ and ‘scientific’ are hopelessly entangled. Can we identify the differences? This lecture is co-sponsored with the C. N. Yang Institute for Theoretical Physics and the Humanities Institute.

On Tuesday, October 22, 2013 at 4:00 p.m. in the Humanities Building, Room1008, we will host a talk by Catherine Malabou entitled “ From Sorrow to Indifference.” Catherine Malabou is a professor at the Centre for Modern European Philosophy at Kingston University, London. A former student of Jacques Derrida, she is the author of The Future of Hegel (1996), The Heidegger Change (2004), What Should We Do With Our Brain? (2004), and The New Wounded (2007). In this lecture, and in the light of the most recent neurobiological research on the emotional brain, Catherine Malabou proposes to replace Deleuze's statement about Spinoza “inspiring sad passions is necessary for the exercise of power” with "inspiring indifference has become necessary for the exercise of power.” This lecture is co-sponsored by the Humanities Institute and the Department of Cultural Analysis and Theory.

2013 Outstanding Lecturer Award Winners

The local Stony Brook University Provost’s Outstanding Lecturer Award recognizes the University’s appreciation of a faculty member’s significant and ongoing contribution/s to the missions of the University. The Provost’s Outstanding Lecturer Award is considered an accolade granted to a full-time Faculty Lecturer at Stony Brook University, based on significant contribution to the university as evidenced by the quality of the individual’s teaching, service, and related professional development. In 2013, there are seven recipients of The Outstanding Lecturer Award:

Wilbur Farley has been a Lecturer with the Program in Writing and Rhetoric since 2000. His interests include film, emerging technologies, and popular culture. In addition to teaching WRT 101 and 102, he has also taught upper-level writing courses focusing on the cultural value of heroes and the rhetoric of mental health discourses.

Timothy Hyde is the Undergraduate Director of the Department of Philosophy. His research focuses on the history of systematic metaphysics. He is presently working on a book manuscript entitled, The Phenomenology of the Missing, in which he shows how we can draw on phenomenological resources to indicate the dynamic, differential and temporal features of the emergence of a world of meaning and values that matters on the basis of life's engaged activity that is not reducible to life's material preconditions. He is also working on a students’ guide to Plato's Republic.

Irene Marchegiani is a Professor Emerita of Italian Language and Literature at California State University, Long Beach, and is currently Director of Undergraduate Studies and Director of Field Experience and Clinical Practice in the Department of European Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at Stony Brook University. She has published on Italian women writers, Giacomo Leopardi, and contemporary Italian poetry. She has translated several volumes of poetry from Italian to English (her translation of Torquato Tasso's Aminta was awarded the prestigious "Diego Valeri" Italian Prize in 2002), and has published a volume of her own poems which won her the Italian Astrolabio Prize in 2010.

Catherine Marrone is a Lecturer, and the Director of Undergraduate Studies, in the Sociology Department. She is also a Faculty Advisor for the Multidisciplinary Studies Major. In April 2012, she was named by the Princeton Review as one of the top 300 College Professors.

Fernando O. Raineri is a Lecturer in the Department of Chemistry, where he teaches General Chemistry and Physical Chemistry courses for undergraduate students, as well as graduate courses in Physical Chemistry. His research interests are focused on uncovering and quantifying the importance of solvation effects in chemical systems where electronic charge redistribution occurs, particularly in the area of electron transfer reactions in solution.

Thomas Tousey has taught writing and rhetoric for more than twenty years, the last fifteen as a faculty member of the Program in Writing and Rhetoric at Stony Brook University. He has also taught classes for English and Journalism at SBU. Before coming to Stony Brook, he taught writing at Hofstra University and worked as a production editor for Physical Review Letters.

Dongmei Zeng was formerly associate professor in ESL at the Borough of Manhattan Community College/CUNY before joining the full-time faculty at Stony Brook University in 2008. She teaches courses in Mandarin Chinese, second language acquisition and methods in teaching Asian languages in the Department of Asian and Asian American Studies, where she also serves as Director of the China Studies Program and Director of Summer Study Abroad in China Programs. Her current research interest is centered on Chinese heritage language maintenance and pedagogy.

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