Hungerford to step down as FAS humanities dean

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Amy Hungerford
Amy Hungerford

Amy Hungerford will step down as dean of the humanities for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) on July 1 in anticipation of her new role as executive vice president and dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Columbia University, according to FAS Dean Tamar Szabó Gendler.

During the fall of 2019, Hungerford will remain on the Yale faculty and complete her work on the University Humanities Strategy Committee, in addition to assisting in the transition to an interim dean. She will begin her position at Columbia on Jan. 1, 2020.

Kathryn Lofton, professor of American studies, religious studies, history, and divinity, will serve as interim FAS dean of the humanities during the 2019-2020 academic year, pending approval by the Yale Board of Trustees. 

Since Hungerford arrived at Yale as an assistant professor in 1999, she has served in a range of leadership roles. She was director of undergraduate studies in English and a member of the Committee on Yale College Education, which revised the undergraduate curriculum in 2003. She served as acting master of Calhoun College (now Grace Hopper College), head of Morse College, and chair of the Council of Heads of College, before joining the FAS Dean’s Office in 2014.

During her time as the inaugural dean of the humanities, Amy has defined this administrative role with discipline, integrity, and a profound commitment to equity,” said Gendler in a message to the FAS faculty.

Hungerford led the review and revision of the 2007 FAS tenure and promotion policies, focusing on increased transparency and intellectual rigor. She guided the plan for the renovation and reconceptualization of 320 York as a hub for humanities scholarship, teaching, and collaboration. She has headed the University Humanities Strategy Committee and with that committee will present a strategic plan for the humanities this fall.

Even while performing her administrative duties, Hungerford has remained active as a scholar and teacher. In 2008 her popular lecture course “The American Novel Since 1945” was made available to the world through the Open Yale courses initiative. Her most recent book, “Making Literature Now,” was published in 2016, as was her edition of “The Norton Anthology of American Literature: Literature Since 1945.” She is the author of two other books: “Postmodern Belief: American Literature and Religion Since 1960” and “The Holocaust of Texts: Genocide, Literature, and Personification.”  

This fall Gendler will appoint a faculty committee to advise her on appointing a new FAS dean of humanities.

Amy has been a leader of incomparable ethical discernment, and I will miss her far-sighted counsel and institutional wisdom,” concluded Gendler. “We have been fortunate to have her as a colleague here at Yale for the past two decades.”