New positions bring stability to campus

By Ciara Shook

As the fall semester begins, Columbia introduces new faculty to the schools and new positions on campus.

The recent reorganization of the College Advising Center has brought new positions to the three schools of Columbia.

Each school will have an assistant dean of Faculty Advising to assist and organize the faculty guidance in each department in a way that will be easier for both students and faculty to understand.

Keri Walters is the assistant dean of Faculty Advising for the School of Fine and Performing Arts. Walters has worked at Columbia for more than a decade and was previously the director of the College Advising Center.

Patti Mackenzie was recently hired as the assistant dean of Faculty Advising for the School of Media Arts.  Mackenzie has been at Columbia for the past two decades and has spent the last seven years working in the College Advising Center.

Keith Cleveland is the assistant dean of Faculty Advising for the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Cleveland previously worked in the Office of the Provost and as a principal administrator for the Graduate School.

New Chairs

The new chairperson of the Theater Department is John Green, who brings his extensive experience in international theater to Columbia.

“John is a very strong academic administrator, a strong practitioner and has strong connections,” said Eliza Nichols, dean for the School of Fine and Performing Arts. “There’s a lot going on with the international scene and his involvement in international theater will add to the student experience of contemporary multi-disciplinary [theatre].”

Former chairperson Sheldon Patinkin built strong credibility for the department. He has since retired and been honored with the title of chair emeritus at Columbia.

“Patinkin engaged the students,” Nichols said. “We want to continue that.”

Pantelis Vassilakis has recently accepted the position of the chairperson of Audio Arts & Acoustics. Vassilakis comes from DePaul University, where he worked at the School of Music and Department of Instructional Design and Development. He has experience working with digital restoration and composed music for the English National Ballet and the London Chinese Orchestra.

“The Audio Arts & Acoustics Department is an amazing department,” said Doreen Bartoni, dean of the School of Media Arts. “They have an incredible faculty and Pantelis comes in as a very accomplished scholar, administrator and practitioner. I have no doubt that he will bring Audio Arts & Acoustics to the next level.”

Since Dennis Rich’s tenure as chairperson of Arts, Entertainment and Media Management, the department has grown by 150 percent.

“Because of him, our program is recognized in the field of arts management as a good department,” Nichols said.

Rich has been honored with a research leave and the title of chair emeritus. His former duties will be dispersed to the appropriate people in the department while Nichols,  Associate Dean Bill Frederking and faculty members conduct a national search for a chairperson.

“We want enough people and enough communication that nothing big falls through the cracks,” Nichols said. “Dennis prepared faculty and staff prior to his departure, so we’re in pretty good shape.”

Formerly a Creative Industry Liaison at the Portfolio Center, Emily Easton has returned to Columbia from the University of Chicago as the new director of New Student Programs. She will also be an instructor of Introduction to Cultural Studies in the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

As the new director, Easton will be steering New Student Programs in a direction that will manage all new student programs, such as the honors society and learning communities.

“We want people—students, staff and faculty—to understand that office deals with all student programs, not just focusing on orientation,” said assistant dean of Student Development Bill Friedman.

Dr. Louis Silverstein has been honored with the title of distinguished professor of Humanities, History and Social Sciences for his commitment to the college and academia. Silverstein teaches Peace Studies; Death and Dying; Education, Culture and Society and Social Problems in American Society.