Two faculty members share their ambitions as they rise to new leadership positions

By Olivia Cohen, Managing Editor

Lucas Martinez

With the new semester now in full swing, two faculty members are settling into their promoted roles.

Susan Kerns, associate professor of Cinema and Television Arts, and Sebastian Huydts, associate professor in the Music Department, are two faculty members who were appointed associate provost for Faculty Research and Development and chair of the Music Department this academic year, respectively.

Now that both Kerns and Huydts have assumed new titles, both educators have specific duties going into the new semester, while they continue to spend time in the classroom.

Kerns, as the new vice provost, will oversee full-time faculty grants, sabbatical processes and faculty research endeavors outside of the classroom.

Kerns says as she takes on new leadership, she hopes to build upon Columbia’s celebration of faculty’s published work by also showcasing it in special galleries.

“I think a lot of people don’t know how well known and respected a lot of our faculty are,” Kerns said. “I want to showcase all of the amazing work that our faculty are continuously doing, in addition to what we all do in the classroom.”

Huydts’ duties include running the Music Department’s budgetary matters, overseeing and approving curricular changes and renewals, collaboration with other departments and outside institutions and staying in touch with alumni.

Huydts has been working as the acting chair of the Music Department prior to earning the title of department chair.

Huydts added that being the “acting chair” of the department has been similar to being the chair of the department.

“I remember becoming acting chair … [and the] former chair of music [Rosita Sands] … telling me, ‘Sebastian, I expect you to act as a chair and not be an acting chair,'” Huydts said.”What she meant was like, you know, just be the chair.”

Huydts said one of the goals he and other faculty members and students have include increasing collaboration at Columbia.

Huydts added that the collaboration he would like to see at Columbia is not exclusive to the Music Department, noting that the Business and Entrepreneurship Department is a good example of a collaboration in another part of the college that can help shape the arts and acoustics.

“There’s always [an] interesting [collaboration] to be had … And I think that’s the most important part of it … realize that you focus on the things that you have in common, and then jointly, through synergy, make something that neither party on their own would have been able to create or to achieve,” Huydts said. “Once you start adding the other performance elements to it, another purpose to it, then it takes on a different dimension.”