Art historian selected for newly created deanship

Yale College Dean Mary Miller announced Thursday the appointment of Susan Cahan, the associate dean for academic affairs of the College of Fine Arts and Communication at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, the newly created position of associate dean for the arts in Yale College.

Cahan, who will be charged with molding a vision for the undergraduate arts across the University, will begin work August 24. Her responsibilities will include developing new programs in the arts and managing current resources in collaboration with department administrators, residential college masters and the deans of Yale’s professional arts schools.

“Dean Cahan’s love of the arts is matched by a dedication to undergraduate arts education,” Miller wrote in an e-mail message to faculty members announcing the appointment. “Throughout her career, she has successfully cultivated relationships with community organizations in contemporary art and has expanded the role of the museums for which she worked to include more education and outreach.”

Cahan, who could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday, serves as the Des Lee Endowed Professor in Contemporary Art at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and previously taught at Bard College and the University of California, Los Angeles. She has overseen educational programs at the New Museum of Contemporary Art and at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and was the senior curator for Eileen and Peter Norton’s art collection as well as the director of arts programs at the Peter Norton Family Foundation.

The position of associate dean for the arts was first recommended in February 2008 by the two committees charged with examining the consequences of expanding Yale College and approved in November. The Special Programs in the Arts Committee led the search to fill the position, with theater studies professor Marc Robinson as its chair.


  • wondering

    I'm wondering whether there is an associate dean for the sciences in Yale College.

  • JE 09

    Good God. I am so sick of people whining about Yale needing to put more emphasis on the sciences. It's becoming almost as ridiculous as saying Yale needs to do more to build ties with China. This has been a cornerstone of Levin's presidency, and he's made huge strides, from acquiring all of the lab space at West Campus to institutionalizing a School of Engineering. Yale is doing plenty for the sciences. However, Yale College seeks to exist in the liberal arts tradition, and thus must promote and maintain excellence in all areas of study.

  • Anon

    Yes, #1, there is an associate dean (at least) "for science education" in Yale College. As #2 notes, Yale is working on better support for science, but it has a long history of neglect of the sciences in which it once was the leader in America. Yale's failure, because of conservative principles ("federal money = federal control), to accept major government support for science in the post WWII science boom years has been hard to overcome.

  • Anonymous

    @ JE 09

    hey, perhaps @wondering was, well, actually wondering … oddly enough, people do wonder

    and yes, there is an associate dean for the sciences

  • wanderingaengus

    is this really the best time to be creating new positions like this?!

  • yale 10

    if only we could hear from the arts ::faculty:: … expanding on #5's comments, it seems that one of the biggest failings in the past 20 years has been the burgeoning growth of administrative positions. maybe going out and hiring a senior and a junior arts faculty member in these departments (art history, art, music, etc.) would actually do more for yale that having one more body to the magesterium … it would be nice if the YDN would speak to more faculty off the record and get some opinions other than "well, great" .. . and maybe i'm wrong; maybe this is the biggest genesis for the arts at yale since artificial conception, but it's worth knowing,

  • YaleProf

    If students and the senior administration really cared about teaching, they would stop hiring all these deans and instead hire more faculty. Faculty teach. Deans get in the way of teaching. It's that simple.

  • help

    please tell us this "arts dean" will have some jurisdiction over the psychopaths at the architecture school…