Click for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Forecast



College's New Dean: Rebecca Bushnell
Stepping Down: Rick Beeman

Dr. Richard R. Beeman, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of history, announced that he will be stepping down as Dean effective July 1, 2003. He has served as Dean of the College since 1998 and during that time he led a number of initiatives including restructuring of the College's undergraduate advising system and introduction of the Pilot Curriculum, now in its third year. He will be spending the 2003-2004 academic year at Oxford University as the Distinguished Harmsworth Professor of American History.

Rebecca Bushnell

Dean Samuel H. Preston has announced that Rebecca W. Bushnell, Associate Dean for Arts and Letters and professor of English, has agreed to become the next Dean of the College.

During the last 17 years Dr. Beeman has served as Chair of the history department, Associate Dean for Humanities and Social Sciences, and College Dean. He comments, "I have enjoyed the challenges of all those jobs, but I have derived special satisfaction from my service as College Dean. I look forward to returning to full-time teaching and scholarship, both at Oxford and at Penn upon my return. I feel special satisfaction knowing that the College deanship is in Rebecca Bushnell's very capable hands."

Richard Beeman

President Judith Rodin noted, "I am delighted for Rick on this tremendous opportunity, however we will sorely miss him, his great sense of humor and his deep commitment to the students here at Penn as Dean. I am confident that Rebecca will continue the great momentum built in the College and that students will very much enjoy getting to know her better in this new capacity."

Dr. Bushnell has served as Associate Dean for five years and in this capacity has had budgetary and planning responsibility for ten humanities departments. She came to Penn in 1982 as a lecturer after completing her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at Princeton. She was appointed an assistant professor in 1984, received tenure in 1990, and became a full professor in 1995. Her scholarship focuses on early modern English literature, culture, and history. She is a recipient of the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching, served for three years as chair of the SAS Committee on Undergraduate Education, and is a former director of the Presidential Commission on Strengthening the Community. She authored a 1996 Cornell Press volume, A Culture of Teaching, and was recently the co-director of a "Teaching with Technology" project funded by the NEH. Dr. Bushnell notes that she is looking forward to her new role "with great enthusiasm," and that she will be devoting a lot of time in the coming months to "meeting with students and faculty to hear their thoughts and concerns about the future of the College."

"An exemplary scholar and teacher, Dr. Bushnell has provided exceptional leadership during her five years as Associate Dean in SAS," said Provost Robert Barchi. "Rebecca brings both a deep commitment to students and extensive experience within our community of scholars that will serve her well as the next Dean of the College."

Dean Preston notes that "The School of Arts and Sciences owes Rick an enormous debt of gratitude for his extraordinary service. Rick has been a wonderfully creative and energetic Dean and has worked tireless and effectively to improve the education of undergraduates in the College."

Dean Preston said of Dr. Bushnell's years as Associate Dean, "she has demonstrated remarkable judgment, tact, and mastery of detail. Her concern with the quality of undergraduate education is evident throughout her career."


  Almanac, Vol. 49, No. 15, December 10, 2002