CLAS Names New Associate Deans

Two new leaders have been named in the UConn College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Edith Barrett, professor of public policy at UConn Hartford, will serve as associate dean for social sciences and regional campuses; and Cathy Schlund-Vials, professor of English, will serve as associate dean for humanities and diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Edith Barrett head shot

Professor of Public Policy Edith Barrett. (Photo courtesy Edith Barrett)

“Professors Barrett and Schlund-Vials both have a track record of innovation in scholarship and teaching and successful administrative experience,” says Interim Dean Davita Silfen Glasberg. “I very much look forward to the new perspectives they will bring to the Dean’s Office.”

In her role, Barrett will oversee the departments of anthropology, communication, economics, political Science, public policy, and sociology; and the Urban and Community Studies Program. She will also serve as the CLAS liaison to UConn’s four regional campuses.

Barrett has been director of Urban and Community Studies since 2011. Before coming to UConn, she was director of the master’s in urban affairs at the School of Urban and Public Affairs at the University of Texas, Arlington.

Central to Barrett’s research is how public policy shapes the lives of urban residents, especially the lives of youth. Her projects addressing urban issues include a study for the city of Fort Worth, Tex., evaluating the impacts of forced relocation public housing development residents; and a National Science Foundation-funded study examining how urban public schools mediate the impact of hurricanes Katrina and Rita on youths. Currently, Barrett’s work explores the connection between political socialization and attitudes toward social policies among American teenagers.

Barrett hopes to help break down barriers among UConn’s campuses and within the social sciences.

“I’m looking forward to representing the regional campuses, because I come from a regional campus and I see them as a jewel in UConn’s crown,” she says. “I’d also like to help social sciences faculty collaborate more, to work together on grants and to emphasize the interdisciplinarity of our work.”

Cathy Schlund-Vials head shot

Cathy Schlund-Vials, professor of English, at her office on Nov. 17, 2017. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

Schlund-Vials will oversee the departments of English; history; journalism; literatures, cultures, and languages; and philosophy, in addition to the College’s interdisciplinary centers and institutes, comprising the Asian and Asian American Studies Institute; the Center for Judaic Studies; El Instituto; the Humanities Institute; and the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program. She will also lead the work of the new CLAS Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

From 2009-2018, Schlund-Vials was director of the UConn Asian and Asian American Studies Institute, and from 2016-2018, she served as president of the Association for Asian American Studies. She is the author of two monographs: Modeling Citizenship: Jewish and Asian American Writing (Temple University Press 2011) and War, Genocide, and Justice: Cambodian American Memory Work (University of Minnesota Press 2012).

Her many edited collections include, most recently, Flashpoints for Asian American Studies (Fordham University Press 2017) and Redrawing the Historical Past: Multiethnic Graphic Narrative (University of Georgia Press 2018). She is currently working on projects examining distanced warfare, disability, and rights violation in U.S. wars in Asia; and video games, comics, and militarized excess.

Schlund-Vials received the 2011 AAUP Teaching Promise award, the Association for Asian American Studies 2013 Early Career Award, and the 2017 CLAS Excellence in Research award.

“Being named associate dean for the humanities is an immensely humbling experience given the multivalent strengths of the departments and units contained therein,” says Schlund-Vials. “I look forward to the opportunity of working closely with the humanities and interdisciplinary programs, and I am excited to continue and expand the fine work done with regard to diversity, equity, and inclusion within the division and across the College.”

The new deans will begin their five-year terms on July 1.

By: Christine Buckley, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

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