Monday, June 28, 2010

Rossi Will Be Interim Dean

An e-mail to faculty from Provost John Pauly:
I wanted you to know at least a little in advance that later this afternoon, through the regularly scheduled News Briefs, we will announce the appointment of the interim dean and two new associate deans for academic affairs for the college. Rev. Philip J. Rossi, S.J., professor of theology, will become interim dean, effective July 1. Dr. Belén Castañeda, associate professor of Spanish, and Dr. William Donaldson, professor of chemistry, will be the new associate deans, effective August 1.
More information on all these folks is here.

Our first impression is that none of these folks has a particularly high ideological profile. None of them, for example, signed the petition objecting to the fact that Marquette refused to hire lesbian dean candidate Jodi O’Brien.

(That in no way rules out the possibility that one or more of them thought that hiring O’Brien would have been a dandy thing.)

Rossi, particularly, is somebody whom our sources simply cannot peg as liberal or conservative. He has strong internationalist leanings, and has worked to make the Theology Department more internationalist in orientation. But that is not, in fact, necessarily a trendy or fashionable thing to do. The Third World and the “Global South” tend to be orthodox, and to supply a large share of “vocations” for the Church.

And being a specialist in Kant (which Rossi is) isn’t particularly trendy either.

Rossi has been at Marquette for 35 years, was associate dean for graduate affairs for three years in the 2000s, and has chaired the Department of Theology several times. He has extensive committee service under his belt. He knows where the bodies are buried.

In this coming year, we face the likelihood of real battles over a new Arts & Sciences Dean, and (even more so) over a new President.

One can never be sure how these things will work out, but it’s distinctly possible that the secular left on campus -- its appetite whetted by the fight over O’Brien and better organized than before -- will make a major push for a liberal, secularizing candidate for either or both positions.

So the Administration, in picking Rossi, has opted for steady, competent leadership. We don’t expect a lot of drama from the Arts & Sciences College for a while, and we’re happy about that.

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