Bartoni to step down after 2011 academic year

By CiaraShook

Warrick L. Carter, president of Columbia, has announced the resignation of Doreen Bartoni, dean of the School of Media Arts, effective after the 2010-2011 school year.

Bartoni, who has worked at the college for more than 20 years and served as dean for almost a decade, is stepping down to teach again. Bartoni said she feels, intuitively, that it is time to move to the next chapter in life.  After the 2010-2011 academic year, she will leave for a one-year sabbatical and return to the college as a tenured faculty member in the Film and Video Department. Bartoni will be working with Chair Bruce Sheridan to determine the courses she will teach.

Bartoni began at Columbia in the mid-’80s as an artist-in-residence in the Film and Video Department, and became a full-time faculty member in 1987. She was a co-chair of the Film and Video Department with Chap Freeman in the early ’90s and became the first dean of the School of Media Arts in 2001.

“Working with her department chairs and faculty, [Bartoni] created a school characterized by cooperation, dedication and commitment,” Carter said in an April 27 e-mail to faculty and staff.

Under Bartoni’s purview, the college saw the School of Media Arts grow. The School saw the development and opening of Columbia’s first ground-up building, the Media Production Center, which opened on Jan. 25.

“Without Doreen Bartoni, we wouldn’t have some of the excellent people we have in the School of Media Arts,” said Deborah Holdstein, dean of the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “We wouldn’t have a Media Production Center—that’s for sure.”

Other merits include the development of the Semester in LA program, which is now led by the program’s executive director, Jon Katzman.

“With her, we built Semester in LA from a small outpost with a few programs to a program that runs 22 semester-length classes in 13 different areas,” Katzman said. “Doreen was a fantastic dean and terrific boss and she fights very hard for her people.”

While Bartoni was dean, she aided the Interactive Arts and Media Department in receiving grants from the United States Department of Defense for software development.

As a filmmaker, Bartoni viewed her experience as an administrator as similar to being a producer on a film set.

“You’re bringing people together to create a project and you need strong organizational skills,” she said. “You need to be able to work with them on a budget and you need to create opportunities for your crew and your cast—your administrator, your students, your faculty—to flourish.”

Carter’s e-mail expressed “mixed feelings” toward Bartoni’s departure, a sentiment that resonates with other faculty members and administration.

“She’s been an outstanding dean, an outstanding colleague and a good friend,” said Steven Kapelke, provost and senior vice president. “On that level, I regret profoundly her decision to do this. On the other hand, I respect her decision because I know teaching is her first love.”

Louise Love, vice president of Academic Affairs, said she enjoyed working with Bartoni and looks forward to her continuing as a faculty member at the college.

“She has led the school to national and international prominence and has done so with wisdom and grace,” Love said. “We will continue to benefit from her many talents.”

Love said the Columbia College Faculty Organization is beginning to elect members for a search committee to find Bartoni’s replacement as dean for the School of Media Arts. Love said Columbia may also hire a search firm to help identify candidates.

“We will be looking for another strong leader who can work with chairs and faculty in very dynamic and rapidly changing fields,” Love said.

Kapelke said it’s rare for deans to stay in their position for longer than a decade, and Bartoni will be in her 10th year during the 2010-2011 academic year.

“Doreen is making what she believes to be a prudent decision,” Kapelke said. “From her point of view, it was time to make the change and I respect her decision.”