In a recent commentary for Breaking Defense, Sean O’Keefe, University Professor in the Maxwell School, noted the opening of President Ronald Reagan’s first inaugural address in 1981, where the Republican observed that the peaceful and orderly transfer of national authority…
Deans Clarke, Steinberg Leave Lasting Legacy
As the school year wraps up, College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) Dean Ann Clarke and Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs Dean James Steinberg are concluding their time leading their respective schools.
But their impact as leaders will long remain, and their presence will continue in the classrooms, studios and hallways of their schools, sharing their knowledge and insights with new classes of students.
Clarke, who announced in September that she was stepping down at the end of the academic year, has served as the VPA dean since 2008. She is taking a one-year research leave before returning to the faculty in fall 2017.
Looking back over her time as dean, Clarke sees how the shared commitment among VPA’s leadership, faculty and staff led to great things.
“I’m proud that it isn’t about ‘I.’ No matter what the projects have been, they have been a partnership. For example, working with Senior Associate Dean Arthur Jensen on successful faculty hires—that was embedded team play,” Clarke says. “I’m proud that we worked that way and proud that we’ve been successful that way.”
During Clarke’s tenure, the college has been strengthened through the creation of key leadership positions, improved internal processes, increased support for faculty and graduate student research and expansion of the college’s international reach, among other endeavors. The efforts have resulted in impressive national rankings for the college’s schools, departments and programs.
“Ann has been an outstanding steward of VPA,” says Chancellor Kent Syverud. “She has kept the best interests of students and faculty front and center of everything she did. And she has done it in a way that has allowed creativity and scholarly excellence to flourish across the college’s diverse departments and programs.”
Clarke says she is “proud of the team of chairs and directors from each school and department in the college, who work together and respect one another. When I came on board, the goal was to work with the academic areas and develop a strong leadership team, and we achieved that. Finally, I’m very proud of the accomplishments of our students and recent graduates.”
During her time as dean, Clarke oversaw the creation of key associate dean positions and significant progress on assessment of student learning and the creation of a framework for preparing for accreditation and self-study reviews. With strong academic leadership in the college’s six schools and departments and the efforts of staff and faculty, the college is thriving and earning widespread recognition.
“Many things come to mind regarding Ann’s impact on the college, including that she raised the leadership profile and created stability across our academic units, whether that meant conducting external searches for department chairs and directors or promoting faculty from within the units,” says Arthur Jensen, senior associate dean and professor in the Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies.
Before Clarke’s tenure as dean, there were only two associate deans. “She created additional associate dean positions for global initiatives (including in New York City, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.) research and graduate studies, and assessment and accreditation, each of which has resulted in significant and timely progress on initiatives important to the college and the University,” Jensen says.
Strengthening the college
Jensen also pointed to Clarke’s work with faculty leadership to locate and hire new faculty that has strengthened the college.
“Her mantra regarding faculty searches has been that ‘we should hire better than we are, and then support them to tenure,’” Jensen says. “I am convinced that she was a major reason that we closed the deal with so many of our top search candidates.”
The results have shown in numerous VPA schools, departments and programs, which have achieved national rankings since 2008. These include graduate programs in ceramics, printmaking, sculpture and transmedia (U.S. News & World Report’s “Top 20 Best Graduate Schools in Fine Arts”); programs in environmental and interior design and industrial and interaction design (DesignIntelligence’s “America’s Best Architecture and Design Schools”); the film program (the Hollywood Reporter’s “Top 25 American Film Schools”); the Department of Drama (the Hollywood Reporter’s “Top 25 Drama Schools”); and the Bandier Program and Rose, Jules R. and Stanford S. Setnor School of Music (the Hollywood Reporter’s “Top 25 Music Schools”). In addition, the graduate program in communication and rhetorical studies has risen to become one of the top master’s programs in the country.
“Dean Clarke had a tremendously positive impact on the College of Visual and Performing Arts. She helped us to establish clear goals for excellence in each school and department and then provide the faculty and students a real opportunity to reach these goals,” says Kendall R. Phillips, associate dean of global academic programs and initiatives and professor of communication and rhetorical studies. “The number of VPA programs that have risen in the ranks is astonishing and a clear testament to her leadership.”
Increased global presence
The college’s global presence has grown with new or expanded programs in New York City; Los Angeles; Washington, D.C.; Brazil; the Czech Republic; England; France; Germany; and Italy. The college has also signed memorandums of understanding for partnerships with Rose Bruford College in London, York St. John University in England, the University of Copenhagen in Denmark and Massey University in New Zealand.
Clarke and the college have also overseen numerous renovations to the college’s buildings and spaces on campus, including:
- a complete renovation to the Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies’ classrooms and offices in Sims Hall;
- the relocation of the School of Design to the Nancy Cantor Warehouse in downtown Syracuse, allowing for increased community partnerships;
- the creation of 914Works, a space for VPA students and faculty to present individual or group exhibitions, readings and small-scale performances;
- renovations to the School of Art’s ceramics studios and equipment in the Comstock Art Facility; and
- the renovation underway of Smith Hall as a nexus for VPA interdisciplinary programs and research.
“She leaves VPA in a very good place in terms of the stable leadership team that will make the next dean’s job much easier,” Jensen says. “She’s clearly leaving VPA stronger and more resilient than when she first took office.”
Clarke will continue to see the college’s progress as she returns full time to teaching.
“I feel incredibly privileged and appreciate the opportunity to be a tenured faculty member at Syracuse University and to recommit to my research and self-learning,” Clarke says. “I firmly believe that education is a lifetime endeavor, and staying current and relevant with technology for the benefit of the students is a serious responsibility and privilege.”
Steinberg, who has been at Maxwell since 2011, also announced in September he would conclude his tenure. He will continue to teach in his role as University Professor of social science, international affairs and law.
Steinberg was at the helm to oversee new collaborations and institutes, the addition of an increasing number of world-class faculty, a strong show of funding support and a continuation of the Maxwell School’s top ranking.
“The key to Maxwell’s success has always been our outstanding faculty, with their strong record of path-breaking research and commitment to teaching our undergrads and graduate students,” Steinberg says. “I am particularly pleased that we’ve been able to sustain that tradition over the past five years by recruiting an exceptional group of both younger and more senior scholars to the school and to the University.”
Steinberg notes how the recently held annual Celebration of Undergraduate Scholarship at Maxwell reflects what makes the school a “truly extraordinary place—faculty mentors working with remarkable young scholars to produce innovative, rigorous insights into the challenges facing our world today.”
Under Steinberg, the Maxwell School established more ways for faculty and students to engage, including the Center for Qualitative and Multi-Method Inquiry and the Aging Studies Institute, a collaboration between the Maxwell School and the David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics. Steinberg also launched a collaboration between Maxwell and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C., a new home for Maxwell teaching and research in the heart of Washington’s policy research centers.
“Jim has further elevated Maxwell’s profile as the premier school for public administration and citizenship studies nationally and internationally,” says Chancellor Syverud. “His expansion of interdisciplinary scholarship opportunities is a vital step toward preparing students for the complex challenges they will face as both leaders and citizens.”
10th Decade Initiative
As part of the school’s 90th anniversary celebration hosted at CSIS in 2014, Steinberg established the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Spirit of Public Service Award. Also launched at that event was the Maxwell School’s 10th Decade Initiative, which in its first year secured nearly $1 million to support interdisciplinary faculty proposals focused on citizenship.
Jamie Winders, Department of Geography chair, associate professor and O’Hanley Faculty Scholar, appreciates Steinberg’s “deep commitment” to interdisciplinary scholarship and teaching.
“This is perhaps clearest in the 10th Decade initiatives that he launched. The initiative provides funding for interdisciplinary collaboration in research and teaching around citizenship themes that are central to Maxwell’s mission,” Winders says.
Recently funded projects address labor studies, climate change, free speech and other topics. Winders is part of the Maxwell Citizenship Initiative, which includes faculty members in sociology, political science, anthropology and geography and creates opportunities across the school for collaborative work related to citizenship.
“Because of Jim’s deep investment in thinking across the different parts of our school, exciting new work around topics like citizenship is emerging,” Winders says. “In our first event, we brought almost 30 faculty together—many of whom had never talked with one another about their work—to discuss teaching and research opportunities related to citizenship.”
Other accomplishments during Steinberg’s tenure include the Maxwell School raising nearly $30 million in support. Key support included these:
- The Tanner Lecture Series on Ethics, Citizenship and Public Responsibility was endowed and launched in 2012 and has brought numerous world-renowned leaders to campus, including former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former Senator Bill Bradley and Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chaffee.
- The Department of History’s Scruggs Lecture was established in memory of Maxwell’s longtime history professor Otey Scruggs.
- The Paul Volcker Chair in Behavioral Economics and the Lerner Chair for Public Health Promotion were endowed.
- The O’Hanley/Robertson and O’Keefe/Robertson Fellows were established, supporting graduate students in international relations.
- The O’Hanley Faculty Fund for Faculty Excellence was endowed and the first four scholars were named.
Under Steinberg, 43 new faculty members were appointed, and he led the Maxwell School to the #1 ranking in the U.S. News & World Report survey in 2012 and 2016.
“Jim’s tenure will be remembered as a time when Maxwell’s visibility and standing in the national policy debate rose considerably, owing to his standing and influence on a global scale,” says Sean O’Keefe G’78, University Professor and the Howard G. and S. Louise Phanstiel Chair in Strategic Management and Leadership.
A scholar, analyst, teacher
Steinberg, an internationally recognized expert in public affairs and foreign policy, pursued a global approach—representing the University and the school during visits and presentations for government, civil society, business leaders and University alumni in China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Spain, Brussels, Stockholm, Sao Paulo, India and Israel.
“As a scholar, a prolific author and thoughtful analyst, Dean Steinberg has demonstrated how his work can be applied by public leaders and practitioners—just as he did throughout his illustrious career,” O’Keefe says. “He’s a rare example of an accomplished, successful practitioner and an exemplary academic.”
As dean, Steinberg has regularly taught graduate and undergraduate classes, including “The East Asian Century,” “Republic to Superpower” and “Central Challenges in National Security Law and Policy.”
“Jim’s true passion is teaching. He is committed to students and embodies that very strong Maxwell tradition of taking pedagogy seriously,” Winders says. “I suspect that one of the things he’ll enjoy most, post-deanship, is having more time to spend with students. It’s clear when you talk to him, that teaching brings him great joy.”
And that’s where he will continue his legacy—in a school of global distinction where he has seen the efforts of a community focused on academic rigor.
“The many accomplishments of the school are a testament to our outstanding faculty, a tireless staff, our enthusiastic and loyal alumni, and a dedicated board of advisors and supporters,” Steinberg says. “It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as dean, and I look forward to continuing to collaborate with all of them in the coming years.”