The University of Miami announced Monday that the new dean of the College of Arts and Sciences will be Michael R. Halleran, currently the divisional dean of Arts and Humanities and a professor of classics at the University of Washington in Seattle.
“In addition to the social sciences and sciences, Dr. Halleran understands the complex needs of the rest of our institution,” UM Provost and Executive Vice President Luis Glaser said.
Halleran received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1981. A specialist in Greek literature and Greek intellectual history, he has been teaching the classics at the University of Washington since 1983. In 1997, Halleran was appointed to the position of divisional dean of Arts and Humanities, oversaw the re-creation of the Simpson Center for the Humanities, created a new Center for Digital Arts and launched a revision of foundation courses at the college.
“Out of such an exceptionally strong pool of candidates, he emerged as both a superb scholar and someone who gets glowing reviews as an administrator,” UM Librarian William Walker, who chaired the search committee, said.
Selected by a committee made up of both faculty members and College of Arts and Sciences students, Halleran said that he was attracted to UM because it is setting an example for other universities in the future.
“When I think about what universities will look like in 10 to 12 years I think a lot of them will look like UM because of its cultural diversity of students,” Halleran said. “I think it’s a wonderful university in one of America’s greatest cities.”
Halleran will be replacing Dean James Wyche, who announced his resignation from the position in May.
His main focus upon arriving in Miami will be to learn more about the University and how he can contribute to the College of Arts and Sciences.
“I don’t come in with a ten-point plan,” he said. “What I need to do is a lot of listening-to chairs, faculty, students and staff. Every campus has its own culture, so I need to learn more. That’s one of the things I find exciting. I think I’ll learn a lot.”
Since UM is a relatively young school, founded in 1925, Halleran looks forward to working with the potential that the University has for furthering its reputation.
“It’s a young campus-I like that. Being younger makes one more nimble. You don’t have tradition telling you ‘this is how you do it,” he said. “I’m thinking about faculty and students. Those are the two main ingredients. I’m thinking, ‘Can I recruit people to an exciting place that has a strong upside and opportunities?’ and the answer is yes.”
A native of New York, Halleran has lived in Seattle for the past 22 years and will move to Miami with his wife, Rebecca, and three kids in July. He looks forward to taking on the responsibilities that await.
“My job as a dean is to create a culture of opportunity. That’s my main focus as a dean. That’s what education is really about. There are a lot of things in place at UM so that one can extend that culture of opportunity.”
Natalia Maldonado can be contacted at n.Maldonado@umiami.edu.