Columbia personnel pursue promotions

By Lisa Schulz

Columbia’s newly named department heads and administrators boast impressive resumes as creators of comic books, interactive media, fashion commentary and more.

Interim Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs Len Strazewski and Fashion Studies Chair Debra Parr have more than just new titles this year—they have filled newly

created positions.

They are joined by Robin Bargar, who was announced Dean of the School of Media Arts. Vice President for Academic Affairs Louise Love also gained a new title as interim provost for the next two years, replacing former Provost and Senior Vice President Steven Kapelke.

Columbia remains on a search for a new chief financial officer, a position temporarily held by Patricia Heath.

“I’m about to keel over,” Strazewski said, referring to the number of demanding responsibilities he had already taken care of earlier in the day.

The experimental yearlong position that began in mid-August doesn’t have a specific job description, according to Strazewski. The position was created for a senior-level person to ease the workload for Love and the Office of Academic Affairs. Some duties suggested by President Warrick L. Carter include revising the faculty handbook and providing liaison to the new Faculty Senate, Strazewski said.

The associate professor of journalism, who began teaching full-time in 1998, will teach a graduate course this fall in addition to his administrative duties.

Strazewski, who said he plans to return to the Journalism Department sometime in the future,  is also a freelance writer with many publications under his belt, from business publications to comics books.

Strazewski, who holds an undergraduate degree in journalism from Northwestern University, also has a master’s degree in English, from the University of Illinois at Chicago and another master’s degree in industrial relations from Loyola University Chicago.

Bargar, who succeeded Doreen Bartoni on June 30, is also a professor in the Interactive Arts and Media Department.

Formerly, he was a professor of entertainment technology at The City University of New York, where he served as Dean of the School of Technology and Design for six years.

A classical pianist and filmmaker,  Bargar completed his doctorate degree in musical arts with a minor in computer science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

He also holds a masters degree in music composition with a minor in video production from The Ohio State University.

Parr, who became Fashion Studies Chair in mid-August, heads a new department that consolidates Fashion Design and Fashion Business. A scholar, historian and fashion commentator for many publications, she is enthused about shaping the new curriculum.

“It’s going to be a very exciting combination, and already I can see the benefit,” Parr said.

One of the goals Parr has for the Fashion Studies Department is expanding the faculty. The department is Columbia’s fourth largest, following Film and Video, Arts, Entertainment and Media Management, and the Art and Design departments.

Parr was associate chair for the Art and Design Department for five years and the associate dean of the School of Fine and Performing Arts for one year.

“I want to do whatever I can do as chair to help create a good environment for teaching and learning so they can get the most out of their time with us as possible,”

Parr said.

“The students in fashion studies are very talented,” she added.

Parr, who received her master’s and doctoral degrees from Boston University has lectured at nine different colleges other than Columbia.

Love has a record of 27 years of experience in higher education. She completed her doctorate degree in English Literature at Northwestern University. Before she came to Columbia, she was the Associate Provost and Senior Associate Provost for six years at Roosevelt University.

Love began her position of interim provost at Columbia on June 1 after Kapelke abruptly left the position. President Carter officially announced that Kapelke left to “pursue other opportunities,” as previously reported by The Chronicle. She will serve until August 2013.

When she came to Columbia five years ago, Love was deputy provost before the position of provost was separated from Vice President for Academic Affairs and Chief Academic Officer, according to a statement from President Carter.

“I’m a pair of hands and eyes to work with Louise,” Strazewski said about his new position. “I’ll provide some additional representation of faculty understandings and experiences in the administration process.”

Columbia continues the search of a Chief Financial Officer. Two candidates, David Garafola and J. Randall Dempsy presented speeches before a group of faculty in May for the position, as previously reported by The Chronicle but neither were chosen for the full-time position.  Patricia Heath is filling the position until further announcements are made.

As far as Parr stands, she’ll stick with Columbia.

“I just can’t imagine myself anywhere else,” she said.