With New Deans and Gabelli Unified, Fordham Charts Its Future


The Office of the Provost announced several changes including the appointment of Dean Rapaccioli.

The Office of the Provost announced several changes including the appointment of Dean Rapaccioli.
The Office of the Provost announced several changes including the appointment of Dean Rapaccioli. Michael Rezin/The Fordham Ram

By Joe Vitale

During the first full week of the spring semester, the university disclosed a flurry of changes and updates regarding the university’s scheduling, administration and future plans.

The announcements — which arrived in a series of emails — were signed by Fordham’s Provost, Stephen Freedman, who expounded on crucial modifications to the university hierarchy, praised the work of the newly appointed deans and urged community members to anticipate a more vibrant future for Fordham.

Some changes — like the scheduling modifications — were expected by students and faculty, though others were presented as critical to the university’s success.

Still, the handful of reports were emblematic of an ongoing redesign of the university structure amid what Rev. Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of the university, in November called “financial and demographic challenges” for the university.

In an indication of efforts to unify the schools of arts and sciences, Freedman announced that Dr. John P. Harrington, the current dean of arts and sciences faculty, will assume the additional title of associate vice president for arts and sciences education in July 2015.

With the new title, Harrington is said to create a “unified voice” for the schools of arts and science and increase integration within the various schools.

“Dr. Harrington will continue to chair the Council of Deans of Arts and Sciences and work collaboratively to enhance curricular and programmatic initiatives across the A&S schools and colleges,” the email stated. “His focus will include interdisciplinary ventures at the undergraduate level that capture the dynamism of such collaborations among the graduate schools.”

There also will be additional emphasis on strengthening science education to address the growing undergraduate interest in STEM fields, according to the announcement.

Along with Harrington’s appointment, Freedman briefed the community on two ongoing searches for administrators in the school of arts and sciences.
The search for the dean of the graduate school of arts and science (which is currently occupied by interim dean Dr. Eva Badowska) is expected to be completed in spring 2015. The school’s chief research officer (currently occupied by interim dean Dr. Amy Tuininga) is expected to be completed near Jan. 2016.

The roles were once under one single position, but a separation of the roles was announced in Oct. 2014.
In addition to changes in arts and sciences, the university announced last week that Fordham’s Gabelli School of Business is now unified and will be housed in Hughes Hall, and at two Lincoln Center locations.

The unification was announced in The New York Times, on Feb. 25, through a full-page Gabelli School of Business ad featuring a photo of Mario Gabelli with a group of undergrads. The bottom of the ad displays a Dean Donna Rappaccioli, the newly appointed dean for the combined undergraduate and graduate programs

The announcements follow two previous appointments this year: Virginia Roach, Ed.D. was announced as dean of the Graduate School of Education, and Matthew Diller was announced as the dean of Fordham School of Law in January.

Updates on the administration were accompanied by two revisions to the spring calendar.

To make up for three Monday cancellations, Wednesday, April 1 and Thursday, April 30 (originally a reading day) both will follow a Monday schedule of undergraduate classes.

Friday, May 1—the second of what was scheduled to be two reading days—will remain a reading day.