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Fordham Names New Dean for College of Liberal Studies

At the New School, Isabelle Frank, Ph.D., oversaw four master’s programs, the bachelor’s program and the adult continuing education program. Photo by Janet Sassi

At the New School, Isabelle Frank, Ph.D., oversaw four master’s programs, the bachelor’s program and the adult continuing education program.
Photo by Janet Sassi

Isabelle Frank, Ph.D., has been named dean of Fordham College of Liberal Studies (FCLS), announced Stephen Freedman, Ph.D., senior vice president/chief academic officer at Fordham.
Frank, currently associate dean for academic affairs at the New School, will assume her new post on Aug. 1.

“Dr. Frank has a strong history of academic innovation,” Freedman said. “She brings to Fordham a unique and very valuable combination of impeccable scholarly credentials and entrepreneurial skill. She is an excellent choice to lead the talented faculty and staff already in place at FCLS as the college evolves in its mission to serve adult learners.

“We expect Dr. Frank will take a leading role in strengthening the college’s academic excellence, and promoting its strategic growth at the Lincoln Center, Rose Hill and Westchester campuses.”

Frank received a bachelor’s degree summa cum laude in art and archeology from Princeton University and a doctorate in the history of art and architecture from Harvard University. During that time, she received the Paul Mellon Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts and the Kress Fellowship at the American Academy in Rome.

She is the author of The Theory of the Decorative Arts: A Critical Anthology of European and American Writings (1750-1950), published by Yale University Press (2000), and co-editor of Die Rhetorik des Ornaments (Munich: Fink Verlag, 2001).

“I am extremely honored to have been chosen as dean of Fordham College of Liberal Studies and to be joining the University’s distinguished faculty and administration,” Frank said.

“This is a crucial moment for academic institutions as they adapt to the changing needs of both traditional and adult students in this economy,” she said. “And Fordham, more than most universities, is exceptionally well placed both to respond to these challenges and to continue on its trajectory of ambitious development.”

FCLS is the University’s college for adult and nontraditional students. Michael Gillan, Ph.D., its founding dean, will assume new responsibilities at Fordham Westchester.
As associate dean at the New School, Frank oversaw four master’s programs with 1,000 students, the bachelor’s program (with 700 students and a curriculum of 500 credit and noncredit courses), and the adult continuing education program, with 60 full- and 500 part-time faculty.

She helped launch new programs, including an online MATESOL degree, an online bachelor’s degree, a graduate documentary studies certificate and the Riggio Honors Program in writing.

Frank began her academic career as a founding faculty member for the Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts in New York, where she taught graduate and undergraduate courses and helped develop the first doctoral program focused on the history of decorative arts.

In 1998 she joined the American Council of Learned Societies to oversee their Fellowship Program for individual scholars in the humanities, a program in size and scope second only to the National Endowment for the Humanities.

“Deans are the backbone of the academic enterprise: they set the intellectual tone for their respective schools, and are the chief advocates for their faculty and curricula,” said Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham.

“For those reasons, and because Fordham is undergoing an extraordinary period of transformation, it is critical that we appoint as dean of Fordham College of Liberal Studies someone of Dr. Frank’s stature and abilities. I am confident that under Isabelle Frank’s leadership, the college will not merely adapt, but thrive in the rapidly changing educational landscape,” he said.

Janet Sassi


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