This is Vassar: The newsletter for Vassar College Alumnae/i and Families

Photo credit: Larry Hamill

Ron Sharp to Step Down as Dean of the Faculty

Dean of the Faculty Ron Sharp will step down at the end of his five-year term this spring to join the Vassar English department.

“Like most deans, I have always felt some tension between the demands of administration on the one hand and the activities that first drew me to the life of the mind, on the other,” Sharp explained in a statement emailed this fall to the faculty and administration. “It has been a privilege to be your dean and to try to improve the policies and structures, the principles and procedures that shape our collective academic life. But after a decade of administration, I really want to return to my original passions: teaching and writing.”

Sharp said his most important job as dean of the faculty has been “hiring and retaining the best faculty.” In his first four years as dean, the college hired 41 tenure-track professors, 22 of whom are faculty of color. He considers his work on Vassar’s diversity initiative to be his proudest accomplishment. “Over half of those new assistant professors are faculty of color,” he said. Sharp also established an annual diversity retreat for the faculty and has sponsored a series of lectures and conversations about diversity in academia.

Dean of the faculty search committees, one comprising faculty members and the other student representatives, are reviewing prospective candidates. Sharp’s replacement is expected to begin his or her term on July 1, 2008.

Sharp intends to take a sabbatical next year and will begin teaching English in Fall 2009. “I would like to teach courses on English Romanticism, contemporary poetry, and the literature of friendship,” he said. A scholar of the 19th-century English poet John Keats and author of six books, Sharp has received various fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Humanities Center, and other foundations. Before coming to Vassar in July 2003, he spent 33 years at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio—28 years teaching English and five years in administration, as associate provost, provost, and acting president.

January 2008

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