Pomona College’s Board of Trustees voted to appoint Mount Holyoke Professor of Physics and Associate Dean of Faculty Janice Hudgings to the position of Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College.
Hudgings will begin at Pomona July 1, 2013, filling Cecilia Conrad’s former position, which Conrad left in order to serve as the director of the MacArthur Fellows Program.
“The way this [selection] works is that there is a search committee of 10 people consisting of six faculty members: the president; a staff member; a student, Quinn Lester PO ’13; and myself,” said Paul Eckstein, Chair of the Academic Affairs Committee and member of the Board of Trustees. “The search committee was dominated by faculty because the position involves more interaction with them.”
The other two candidates interviewed for this position were Michael Latham, Dean of Fordham College at Rose Hill and modern American history professor, and Adrian Randolph, Associate Dean of Arts and Humanities and Leon E. Williams Professor of Art History at Dartmouth College.
“All of the candidates were outstanding, and they all had relevant experience. [But] I think that Janice Hudgings connected more easily with people than the other two,” Eckstein said.
“We are expecting great things for the college. It would be very nice if she could fill previous dean Cecilia Conrad’s shoes,” he added.
Pomona President David Oxtoby ultimately chose Hudgings, and the board voted to pass the decision.
Students were given many opportunities to meet the candidates and convey their opinions and preferences by e-mail.
According to Lester, Hudgings mentioned in her open forum with students that she might teach a first-year seminar on environmental architecture.
“She is a very popular professor at Mount Holyoke. [She has] an exemplary record as a professor and scholar, and has done a lot as [their] Associate Dean,” Lester wrote in an e-mail to TSL. “I would also note her passion for the creative arts that will translate well to Pomona’s currently existing initiatives on the arts.”
Eckstein said that Hudgings’s first responsibilities will include adjusting to Pomona.
“I think Hudgings would like to teach, but for her first year, she will have to familiarize herself at Pomona. She taught through her deanship at Mount Holyoke and will probably teach one course a year later on,” Eckstein said.
Hudgings was promoted to Associate Dean of Faculty at Mount Holyoke in 2012. She has authored more than 30 published academic papers and has received numerous awards, including a $375,000 National Science Foundation CAREER Award for her research on vertical cavity surface-emitting lasers in 2002 and the Optical Society of America’s Esther Hoffman Beller Medal for innovative teaching. She could not be reached for comment.
Hudgings obtained a B.S. in engineering and a B.A. in math from Swarthmore College and graduated with distinction. She studied math and philosophy at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar and received her Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.