Philosopher to lead CLASS
Provost John Antel has named Cynthia Freeland to replace Joe Pratt as interim dean for the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.
Freeland, a philosophy professor, was appointed by Antel on Jan. 26 following the departure of Pratt, who was named interim dean in February 2008.
The search for a permanent dean for the college continues.
“There is no problem with the dean search,” Antel said. “We have a number of great candidates, and the decision will be made public in the next two weeks.”
Freeland, who has been at UH since 1986, also predicted her tenure would be short-term and expressed optimism for a successful end to the search for a permanent dean. Freeland was ready to provide the leadership on current projects that concern the College.
“I don’t expect to start any new projects during my tenure,” she said. “But I will help departments now making hires to get the best people.”
Freeland also said she is interested in the flagship agenda and making the CLASS doctoral programs stronger.
“I (want to work on) getting greater stipends for our teaching assistants and graduate students,” she said. “I want to help them out, so as to have strong doctoral programs in place.”
As interim dean, Freeland will also need to begin the process of looking into budget cuts within the college in an effort to help the University with its own budget reduction as requested by the state.
“Unfortunately, I need to administer some budget cuts soon. I’ll work with the department chairs to come up with some ideas,” Freeland said.
She said it’s a process she has been through before.
“You feel like you cut it all the last time and that you can’t possibly cut more,” she said. “But I keep reminding myself and my colleagues that we’re better off than the faculty in some other states.”
Pratt, a professor of history and business, vacated the position due to prior commitments.
“I served for almost a year, but I could not go longer than a year because of previous commitments, primarily to a long-term research project I have been involved in since long before I became interim dean,” Pratt said.
Pratt expressed support for Freeland, which he said is shared among his colleagues.
“Cynthia will be an excellent interim dean,” Pratt said. “She enjoys broad support within the CLASS faculty.”
Antel expressed similar support.
“Freeland is an experienced administrator, having served as department chair of philosophy and associate dean,” Antel said. “She is a great academic and academic leader.”
Freeland recently served as chair of the Department of Philosophy, as well as previously serving as associate dean for the former College of Humanities and director of Women’s Studies. She is also a Faculty Fellow in the Honors College.
Freeland has also published four books, one of which has been translated into 12 languages. Her latest book, Portraits and Persons, is scheduled for publication in June 2010.