College of Arts and Science Dean Search
All faculty, staff and students are invited to the CAS Dean Finalist Open Forums being held in Kreger Hall, room 319:
- Renée Baernstein
- Monday, Feb. 5, 4:00-5:00pm and Tuesday, Feb. 6, 9:00-10:00am
- Melissa Gregory
- Monday, Feb. 12, 4:00-5:00pm and Tuesday, Feb. 13, 9:00-10:00am
- Matthew Smith
- Monday, Feb. 19, 4:00-5:00pm and Tuesday, Feb. 20, 9:00-10:00am
- David Hemmer
- Monday, Feb. 26, 4:00-5:00pm and Tuesday, Feb. 27, 9:00-10:00am
Meet the Candidates
Renée Baernstein joined Miami University’s History department in 1993, and teaches world history and European history. Since 2015 she has served as associate dean of the College of Arts and Science, where she has held leadership positions in curriculum and academic program development, promotion and tenure of tenure-line faculty, buildings and facilities, and grants and contracts.
Her archival research focuses on Renaissance Italy, particularly the roles of women and marriage in politics during the 16th and 17th centuries. She is a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome and an amateur beekeeper.
Melissa Valiska Gregory is professor of English and interim dean of the College of Arts and Letters at the University of Toledo. Dr. Gregory is passionate about the fundamental importance of the liberal arts and sciences to four-year public institutions and brings to her candidacy a long history of advocacy for the arts, humanities, social sciences, and interdisciplinary programs. During her time in the Arts and Letters Dean’s office, Dr. Gregory led multiple curricular initiatives that branded the college as a space of dynamic innovation, including a new minor in the health humanities supported by a National Endowment for the Humanities grant, a minor in Latinx studies, a major in Data Analytics, and a unique Associate of Arts in the Liberal Arts that is now embedded within every four-year degree program in the college. Dr. Gregory is committed to faculty advancement and has a robust track record of creating initiatives that support faculty success with tenure and promotion. External research funding has also achieved an all-time high under her term as interim dean.
Dr. Gregory is equally committed to student success and takes a holistic approach to the student life cycle at the university. Under her leadership, Dr. Gregory increased recruitment rates, bringing in the largest class of new undergraduate students to her college since COVID, and has implemented important programming that successfully increased student retention. Dr. Gregory also built a culture of thriving undergraduate research in the college. Finally, Dr. Gregory has a deep appreciation of the many ways in which philanthropy can advance the success of a university’s mission, and she has developed an outstanding record of alumni engagement, gift stewardship, and advancement. The college achieved the highest development revenue in its history under Dr. Gregory’s leadership. Recently, Dr. Gregory has partnered closely with donors to build a global study abroad cohort program for student leaders that is now in its second year of success. Dr. Gregory is a dynamic, mission-focused, and collaborative leader who looks forward to working with faculty and students to create the liberal arts and sciences of the 21st century.
David Hemmer recently completed five years as dean of the College of Sciences and Arts and is currently professor of Mathematical Sciences at Michigan Technological University, the snowiest college campus in the United States by a large margin. A native of Syracuse, New York, he did his undergraduate work in mathematics at Dartmouth College, and his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago. Prior to arriving at Michigan Tech, he served for six years as chair of the mathematics department at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo. At one point his research, in the area of representation theory of finite groups (very abstract algebra!), was funded by federal grants for 17 consecutive years.
He is also the founder and director of the “Copper Country Math Circle,” bringing fun and engaging math activities to elementary school students in the Keweenaw since 2019. Since moving to Michigan Tech, he has learned how to downhill ski while avoiding serious injury but not embarrassing tumbles. He is also an avid bridge player and pianist and an enthusiastic but largely unsuccessful fisherman.
Matthew J. Smith, Ph.D. is dean of the College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences (CHBS) and professor of Communication at Radford University in Virginia. CHBS is the largest college in the university including eight departments, a School of Communication, three interdisciplinary programs, and the Army ROTC program. Over the last six years, Dr. Smith has led the college in developing new minors such as African American Studies and Legal Studies, establishing the Social Media Analytics and Research Technology (SMART) Lab and the Center for Digital Archives and History, and introducing the Student Travel and Research Support (STARS) fund, which leverages donor support for students traveling to research conferences and other experiential learning opportunities.
Prior to his tenure at Radford, Dr. Smith served as chair and professor of Communication at Wittenberg University, a liberal arts college in Ohio, where he developed co-curricular student programs such as the Communication and Business Leadership Experience (CABLE). He holds a Ph.D. in Communication and an M.A. in English from Ohio University and a B.A. in English from West Liberty State College. He has published 12 different books, serves as co-editor of the Routledge Advances in Comics Series, and is co-curator of Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes, a traveling museum exhibit that has hosted more than 1,000,000 visitors in eight North American and European cities since opening in 2018.
The provost has appointed a search committee which is chaired by Jenny Darroch, Dean of the Farmer School of Business. Members include:
- Jenny Darroch (Search Chair)
Dean of Farmer School of Business Dean
- Andrea Kravats, Assistant Professor
Dept. of Chemistry and Biochemistry
- Rosemary Pennington, Associate Professor
Dept. of Media, Journalism and Film
- Tim Melley, Professor and Director of the Humanities Center
Dept. of English
- Paul Urayama, Chair and Professor
Dept. of Physics
- Vaishali Raval, Professor
Dept. of Psychology
- Kris Zomchek, Director of Personnel Planning and Operations
- Grace Payne
- Kevin Morrison
- Sharon Mitchell
College of Arts and Science
The College of Arts and Science (CAS) fosters a climate that promotes intellectual discovery and personal development through 60+ undergraduate majors, dozens of minors, and 40+ graduate degree programs. CAS equips students to develop the building blocks for successful careers in our ever-changing, globally-minded workforce.