While the Central New York winter chill begins to creep in, South Campus residents have a new way to stay warm, enjoy the outdoors and connect with one another. Five lounging areas complete with fire pits are now available in…
Karin Ruhlandt to Conclude Tenure as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Lois Agnew to Serve as Interim Dean
Karin Ruhlandt, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences (A&S) and Distinguished Professor of chemistry, has announced that she plans to step down as dean later this year and return to the chemistry faculty following a well-earned research leave. A national search to identify Ruhlandt’s successor will launch in the coming months. In the meantime, Professor Lois Agnew, associate dean of curriculum, innovation and pedagogy in the College of Arts and Sciences, will serve as interim dean beginning July 1, 2022.
“Karin has demonstrated outstanding leadership in advancing the critical role the liberal arts and interdisciplinary studies play at Syracuse University,” says Chancellor Kent Syverud. “She has been a tenacious and dedicated advocate on behalf of her students, faculty and staff and has put the college on a tremendous growth trajectory. I am grateful to Karin for her years of leadership and am confident she will continue to do great things as an educator, researcher, scholar and mentor.”
Vice Chancellor and Provost Gretchen Ritter says Ruhlandt has successfully bridged historic gaps between the humanities, sciences, mathematics and all disciplines.
“Under her leadership, A&S has built on its history of stellar scholarship and research and attracted new faculty with contemporary perspectives and expertise in areas related to intercultural competency and social justice,” says Ritter. “Her focus on participatory learning—whether in laboratories or through internships and study abroad opportunities—has enhanced the learning experiences of a generation of A&S students, and has positioned the college to be on the leading edge of pedagogy in its many varied disciplines.”
Ruhlandt, a member of the Syracuse University community since 1993, was named dean in January 2015, after serving as interim dean since July 2014. During her time at the helm of A&S, Ruhlandt has increased funding for undergraduate research and reorganized how funds are distributed to ensure equity across all disciplines; reorganized the Syracuse University Humanities Center to enhance programming and support faculty scholarship; initiated collaborative relationships with leaders of the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and the School of Education to develop a number of new interdisciplinary programs; oversaw the development of a unique student advising paradigm that connects academic and career advising to optimize student retention and career preparedness; launched an ambitious communications strategy that improved editorial coverage of faculty, student and alumni accomplishments; and restructured the dean’s cabinet to operate more effectively and efficiently. Ruhlandt is especially proud of her work to improve opportunities for traditionally underrepresented students and faculty, particularly through programs that include SUSTAIN, ACS-SEED, ADVANCE, WISE and others.
“I’m so proud to have helped shape the heart and soul of Syracuse University through the liberal arts student experience,” says Ruhlandt. “The college unites us all—scientists and researchers, writers and artists, humanists and intellectuals—A&S is our intellectual home. As a new strategic planning process gets underway and as I reflect on all that has been accomplished for Arts and Sciences with the current strategic plan, it feels like the right time to welcome a new leader who will be involved in shaping and executing a new strategic plan for many years ahead. At the same time, Arts and Sciences is my home, and I look forward to rejoining my colleagues in the Department of Chemistry, and to helping push the boundaries of research while inspiring our students to pursue challenging careers and meaningful scholarship.”
Prior to serving as dean, Ruhlandt was chair of the Department of Chemistry. A pioneering researcher in the area of alkaline earth metal chemistry, Ruhlandt helped establish what has become one of the largest National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) programs in the country, including a mutual summer research REU program with the Technical University in Graz, Austria. In 1997, Ruhlandt received an NSF CAREER Award for her groundbreaking research. More recently, she received a prestigious NSF Special Creativity Award, which provides investigators an extended opportunity to attack adventurous, high-risk research pursuits.
Ruhlandt is the author or co-author of more than 150 scholarly publications, has presented lectures and papers at conferences and universities worldwide, is a reviewer for national and international granting agencies and numerous scientific journals, and has participated on several University committees and panels. She received the Chancellor’s Citation for Excellence in 2012 and a Fulbright Fellowship in 2013, enabling her to spend a year at the Technical University of Graz, Austria. A native of Germany, Ruhlandt holds a Ph.D. from Philipps-Universität Marburg.
A member of the Syracuse University community since 2004, Agnew was named associate dean in July 2017. She is a professor of writing and rhetoric and previously served as chair of the Department of Writing, Rhetoric and Composition. During her tenure at the University, Agnew has received multiple honors and awards, including the William Wasserstrom Prize for the Teaching of Graduate Students, the Excellence in Graduate Education Faculty Recognition Award and the Meredith Teaching Recognition Award. She is the author of numerous articles, essays, book chapters and books. Agnew earned a Ph.D. in English from Texas Christian University and a master’s degree in English from the University of Texas at Arlington.
“I am grateful to Lois for her willingness to serve as interim dean,” says Ritter. “She also recently agreed to serve on the Academic Strategic Planning Preparation Group which is evaluating our academic strategic plan in the context of best practices in planning and process in order to refresh the plan next year. Lois is a gifted scholar, teacher and leader and her stewardship in this transition is both admirable and much appreciated.”
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