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Dr. John Coleman named College of Liberal Arts dean

January 8, 2014

Dr. John Coleman has been named the new dean of the College of Liberal Arts (CLA) at the University of Minnesota, effective July 31, pending Board of Regents approval in February.

"John has a track record as a trustworthy and highly effective academic leader, one whose style is thoughtful and collaborative," said Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Karen Hanson. "He has been a strong and persuasive advocate for the liberal arts, and he understands the importance of forging and sustaining a vision for the university’s - in fact, the state’s - largest college."

Coleman comes to Minnesota from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, where he has served as the chair of the Political Science Department since 2007, a department he’s been part of for more than 20 years. He was also chair of the College of Letters and Science (L&S) curriculum committee and the L&S representative to the campus’s education innovation initiative, which provides leadership and coordination for the campus’s efforts to integrate new instructional methods, techniques and non-traditional degree programs into the curriculum. Prior to his time at UW – Madison, Coleman held positions at the University of Texas at Austin and the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration.

A Massachusetts native, Coleman earned his BA, summa cum laude, in Government and History from Clark University and his Ph.D. in Political Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). His research on political parties, elections, legislative-executive relations, divided government, campaign finance and American political development has appeared in the discipline’s leading journals.

"The stronger the liberal arts and CLA, the stronger the U will be," said Coleman, the author or editor of six books. "CLA’s talented faculty, staff and students are known for world-class research, effective and passionate teaching and dedicated service to the state, and these values must be maintained and enhanced. These are challenging times in higher education, but these challenges present exciting opportunities for building an even stronger CLA. I look forward to working on these efforts with colleagues on campus, CLA’s alumni and friends and members of the community."

Coleman has led the UW – Madison Political Science Department through a period of budgetary challenges and, just before he became chair, the department had lost a substantial number of its faculty. He led efforts to restore confidence, rebuild the department, enhance its research profile and reinvigorate undergraduate and graduate educational programs.

As dean of CLA, Coleman will provide leadership and administrative oversight for the University’s largest college and will collaborate with faculty, staff and students to advance the mission of the college.

Coleman was chosen for the position following a national search that began this summer. College of Design Dean Tom Fisher chaired a 20-member search committee consisting of CLA faculty, staff and students.

"The University’s excellence as a public land-grant research university depends crucially on the excellence of CLA, which enrolls nearly half of all the undergraduates on the Twin Cities campus," said Hanson. "CLA has the potential to lead the nation in building new paradigms for research and education in the liberal arts. I look forward to working with John and the University community to advance the excellence and vitality of CLA, to ensure its centrality and impact."

Raymond Duvall will remain in his role as interim dean until Coleman begins.

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