2 Faculty Appointed Leadership Roles

Posted 05/02/07
Two distinguished faculty members will be appointed leadership roles in university centers for the next three years, with terms beginning on July 1, 2007.

Suzanne O’Connell, left, associate professor of earth and environmental sciences, has agreed to assume the directorship of the Service-Learning Center for a three-year term. O’Connell will be replacing Rob Rosenthal, professor of sociology.

O’Connell studies climate change, coastal processes, and diversity in the geosciences. She is the author of more than 50 refereed publications and the recipient of more than $1 million in National Science Foundation grants. Most recently she was the Principle Investigator on a major award to build a “Community of Women Geoscience Leaders.” More than 12 months of her life have been spent at sea on oceanographic research expeditions. O’Connell was the 2000 recipient of the Association for Women Geoscientists “Outstanding Educator Award.”
The Service Learning Center was launched to integrate experiences outside the classroom with an academic curriculum taught within the classroom. As one form of experiential education, service learning seeks to broaden students’ understanding of course content through activities which are, at the same time, of service to the community.

The Service Learning Center coordinates and supports faculty efforts to develop and teach service learning courses. The Director of the Service Learning Center aids faculty members in designing new service learning courses, facilitates the review of proposed courses, and works closely with faculty and community partners to coordinate the activities of the Center and the courses it sponsors.

O’Connell says Wesleyan brought her to Middletown 18 years ago, and she soon realized the additional benefits of being a resident of Middletown.

“Wesleyan and Middletown are two unique and rich communities,” she explains. “By accepting this position, I hope to be able to enhance the ties between the two, and give students an opportunity to expand their education into action while benefiting Middletown.”

Sean McCann, left, associate professor of English, associate professor of  American Studies, has agreed to assume the directorship of the Center for Faculty Career Development for a three-year term.

He replaces Andy Szegedy-Maszak, the Jane A. Seney Professor of Greek, professor and chair of the Classical Studies Department. Szegedy-Maszak initiated the center.

McCann studies late-nineteenth and twentieth century American literature and its relation to contemporaneous political developments. He is the author of Gumshoe America: Hard-Boiled Crime Fiction and the Rise and Fall of New Deal Liberalism, (Duke University Press, 2000), which received honorable mention for the America Studies Association’s John Hope Franklin Prize for the best book in American Studies. He is currently working on a book titled, The Anti-Liberal Imagination: American Literature and Presidential Government. McCann was a recipient of the Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching in 2004.

The Center for Faculty Career Development plays a central role in the professional development of our faculty. The director is responsible for overall management of the Center and coordination of its various activities, which include the weekly Academic Technology Roundtable lunch discussions, talks, seminars, workshops by visitors, programs to assist faculty in developing their classroom skills, developing a library of resources, and serving as a confidential source of informal advice to faculty on issues broadly related to their professional development.

Joe Bruno, vice president for academic affairs and provost, applauds Rosenthal and Szegedy-Maszak for their outstanding leadership exhibited in their former roles.

“Both centers have functioned beautifully and have come to be very important parts of the university,” Bruno says. “We are indebted to Andy and Rob for the outstanding work they have done in establishing the centers and ensuring their contributions to Wesleyan’s mission.”

Bruno welcomes O’Connell and McCann to their new roles.

“I am deeply grateful for their willingness to accept these important assignments,” he says.