Almanac Between Issues November 29, 2004

Dean of SAS: Rebecca Bushnell

Dr. Rebecca W. Bushnell, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and a distinguished scholar of English literature, will become the next Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences and the Thomas S. Gates, Jr. Professor.  President Amy Gutmann and Interim Provost Peter Conn announced her appointment today. Dr. Bushnell will begin this new position effective January 1, succeeding Dr. Samuel Preston, who last March announced his intention to return to teaching and research after completing his seven-year term as dean at the end of December.

“After conducting a nationwide search for a new dean of SAS, we are delighted to have found the ideal candidate right here at Penn. Rebecca is an exemplary scholar and educator whose understanding of the critical role that a liberal arts education plays in our society makes her a compelling choice to lead SAS. She provided exceptional leadership during her tenure as Dean of the College and previously for five and one-half years as Associate Dean for Arts & Letters in SAS. She brings a wealth of experience within the Penn community that will serve her well as the next dean of SAS, Dr. Gutmann said.

After becoming Dean of the College in 2003, Dr. Bushnell made expanding opportunities for undergraduate research a priority and worked with the Provost to institute the new summer research internships program, which provides undergraduates with research-related positions in Penn's arts and culture institutions. In collaboration with the faculty, she oversaw the establishment of the new Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing and the Cinema Studies program.  With Dr. Dennis DeTurck, she initiated the curriculum review process to engage faculty and students in developing a new curriculum for the College.

A scholar of early modern English literature, culture, and history, Dr. Bushnell came to Penn in 1982 as a lecturer after completing her Ph.D. in comparative literature at Princeton. Her M.A. is in English literature from Bryn Mawr and her B.A. in English literature is from Swarthmore.

Dr. Bushnell was appointed an assistant professor of English in 1984, became associate professor in 1990, and became a full professor in 1995. She received the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching in 1986, served for three years as chair of the SAS Committee on Undergraduate Education, and directed the Presidential Commission on Strengthening the Community, 1993-94.  She was the Chair of the Graduate Group in English, 1991-94. She has been a member of the graduate group in comparative literature since 1987, and this year, she became a member of the graduate group in history.

Dr. Bushnell has published four books on subjects ranging from the plays of Sophocles to early modern English gardens.  Her new Companion to Tragedy is forthcoming this spring.  She also authored a volume of A Culture of Teaching, and was recently the co-director of a "Teaching with Technology" project funded by the NEH.

Dr. Eduardo Glandt, dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science,  led the search committee.  Dr. Conn said, “their dedication and tireless efforts have ensured the best academic leadership for Penn going forward.”


Posted 11/29/04