SUNY New Paltz recently appointed Dr. Stella Deen, former associate professor of English, as the new Interim Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
According to Deen, the job of interim dean of the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences is to “advocate for and manage all the resources… that enable us to maintain and develop first-rate student learning experiences.”
Deen has also served as interim dean of the Graduate School and associate provost.
“Working with faculty and other administrators, I hope to promote excellent curricular and co-curricular learning experiences in a number of arenas,” Deen said. “This year in particular, I hope to work with the Liberal Education Committee to realize curricular structures for more interdisciplinary approaches to learning and for strengthened opportunities for critical thinking.”
A professor at New Paltz for 19 years, Deen said she is being well-served by her long tenure at the university. Chairing the English department has made her familiar with many of the tasks she will have to undertake as dean.
According to Provost Pillip Mauceri, the university needed to fill the position of dean on an interim basis while taking on a national search for a permanent replacement for Dean James Schiffer, who stepped down from the position in June to return to the faculty. After reviewing several candidates, Mauceri found Deen to be best suited for the job.
“Dr. Deen has been at New Paltz for nearly 20 years and knows and cares about the institution and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences deeply,” Mauceri said. “Her career at New Paltz illustrates a strong commitment to service and an academic enterprise that provides our students with a quality education.”
Some of Deen’s achievements include the SUNY Chancellor Award for Excellence in Faculty Service in 2007 and chairing the Liberal Education Committee during the 2011-2012 school year.
Additionally, she is highly respected and revered by her colleagues in the English department.
Dr. Andrew Higgins, who serves as the department’s deputy chair, said Deen is “one of the sharpest people [I’ve] ever met.”
“She’s a very impressive person and a very accomplished scholar,” Higgins said. “She’s also one of those rare faculty members who has really got a vision of both her field and the university as an institution. She knows what’s going on around campus, how it functions and how the pieces fit together. I think she’s going to be outstanding in her role as interim dean.”
As far as the pressure to be like her successor, Deen said she admires former Dean Schiffer’s ability to “accomplish much more than keeping the trains running,” and said she will be pleased with herself if she can keep up even some of the traditions he put into place.
The only challenge she sees having to overcome is being able to ensure the projects she is working on “come to fruition as quickly as [I] would like them to.”
However challenging her new position will be, Deen said she is excited about taking on the role.
“I am most excited about the opportunity to work with a superb faculty and to learn more about what each of them does so that we can make visible and positive impacts on student learning and life at New Paltz,” Deen said.