May 26th, 2010 | News, University

New Berkeley dean named

Mia Genoni, a Mellon Special Collections humanities postdoctoral fellow and lecturer in the Humanities Department, will be the new dean of Berkeley College, Yale College Dean Mary Miller wrote in an e-mail to Berkeley students on Tuesday.

“The committee has chosen Mia Genoni because of her academic rigor, her interest in working with students both in and outside the classroom, and her deep engagement with the Yale community and with the other communities where she has engaged in the past,” Miller wrote in an e-mail to the News on Wednesday. She added that despite a tight timeline, the selection was made from “a very robust applicant pool.”

Genoni will replace outgoing dean Kevin Hicks ’89, who announced in April that he would leave Yale at the end of the school year to become associate head of school and dean of faculty at the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Conn. Genoni’s appointment follows last month’s announcement of Hilary Fink, associate professor and director of undergraduate studies in Slavic Languages and Literatures Department, as the new dean of Branford College.

Since arriving at Yale in 2008, Genoni has taught undergraduate seminars and has read or advised senior essays in both the Humanities and the History of Art departments, Miller said in her e-mail. During her time at Yale, Genoni has been praised as a teacher who engages closely with her students, offering them both challenges and encouragement, Miller added. The prospectus of Genoni’s upcoming book, “The Invention of Renaissance Architecture: Filarete and the Architettonico Libro,” has been accepted by the Yale University Press.

In an interview, Genoni said she was “immediately drawn to the position” of Berkeley dean after some of her collegues at the Whitney Humanities Center brought the vacant post to her attention.

“Residential deans have the opportunity to make an immediate difference in the lives of their students — to listen to them and aid and advise them on matters ranging from the academic to the social,” she said, adding, “I do feel connected to Berkeley College in particular.”

As dean, Genoni said she intends to work closely with Master Marvin Chun to listen to students and foster “a wonderful atmosphere of collegiality and support.”

In order to accommodate her new responsibilities, Genoni said she will teach one seminar per year beginning in 2011 and will remain available to advise a select number of senior essays. Among the courses she hopes to offer in the coming years is “Evidence in Humanistic Inquiry,” a seminar she taught this past spring semester with fellow humanities lecturer Norma Thompson.

Before coming to Yale, Genoni taught and advised students at the University of Richmond and at the College of Visual and Performing Arts of Kutztown University in Pennsylvania. She earned a joint bachelor of arts degree in the history of art and architecture and in English and american literature from Harvard, and received both her master’s degree and doctorate in history of art and archaeology from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University.

A yoga and outdoors enthusiast, Genoni will move into Berkeley with her Pekingese, Ming Tea, in July.