Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs
I am very pleased to announce the appointment of Michael T. Orr as Skidmore's next Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs, effective July 16, 2018, following a national search to fill this critical leadership position.
Michael brings to Skidmore extensive experience as an administrator and academic leader. Since 2011, he has served as the Krebs Provost and Dean of the Faculty at Lake Forest College with oversight for all aspects of the college's academic program. During his tenure, he has led a number of initiatives, including completing the current strategic plan, revising the general education curriculum, coordinating the planning for a $43 million expansion and renovation of science facilities, and preparing for the college's recent successful reaccreditation review.
Michael was also responsible for hiring approximately one-third of all full-time faculty members and assisted the college in raising more than $3 million in foundation support, including a $500,000 grant from the Sherman Fairchild Foundation for science equipment. In 2013, he helped establish the Institute on College Futures, an annual two-day seminar on the economic challenges facing liberal arts colleges for faculty leaders at member institutions of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest.
Before joining the administration of Lake Forest College, Michael was a faculty member for more than 20 years at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. During his tenure at Lawrence, he served multiple terms as chair of the Department of Art and Art History and chaired a variety of university-wide committees, including the Committee on University Governance; the Committee on Tenure, Reappointment, Promotion and Equal Opportunity Employment; and a Trustee Task Force on Student Residential Life.
An accomplished educator, he was awarded Lawrence's Young Teacher Award, Freshman Studies Teaching Prize, and the University Award for Excellence in Teaching. Michael spent the 2009–10 academic year at Macalester College as an American Council on Education Fellow, one of only 39 selected nationwide. In 2010-11, he was appointed as the Special Assistant to the President for Strategic and Financial Planning.
A scholar of late medieval English illuminated manuscripts, Michael earned his bachelor's degree in art history at University College London, UK, and his master's and doctoral degrees in art history at Cornell University. He is co-author of three volumes in the Harvey Miller series An Index of Images in English Manuscripts from the Time of Chaucer to Henry VIII, c. 1380–c. 1509 and has published a range of other articles and book chapters on English medieval art.
Michael is eager to join the Skidmore community and is "looking forward to working with Skidmore's talented faculty and staff in furthering the college's educational mission." He continues, "I am particularly excited at the prospect of helping the college implement its new Strategic Plan, including contributing to the planning for the Center for Integrated Sciences, and assisting with the launch of the revised general education curriculum. Above all, I am eager to begin collaborating with Skidmore's outstanding faculty in supporting and sustaining their work as teachers and scholars."
Michael succeeds Beau Breslin, who has served as Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs since 2012. Beau will step down from the position on December 31 to return to the faculty in January 2018, and Crystal Moore, Associate Dean of Faculty, will serve the Interim Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs for the spring semester until Michael assumes his role in July 2018.
During his time as Director of the First Year Experience, Acting Dean, and Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs (DoF/VPAA), Beau Breslin has provided exemplary administrative service, which was always shaped by his vision of liberal education and his deep commitment to Skidmore. As DoF/VPAA, Beau helped to guide the College through a strategic planning process, a successful reaccreditation effort, the revision of our General Education curriculum, planning for the design and funding of the Center for Integrated Sciences (CIS), the hiring of nearly one-half of our continuing faculty members, and the development of an effective faculty diversity hiring initiative that has become a national model. Above all, he served as the strong voice of the faculty within the senior administration. For these significant contributions, he deserves both our thanks and our praise.
Let me also express my appreciation to Associate Dean Crystal Moore for her willingness to serve as Interim Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs during the coming spring semester. In this role, Crystal will provide continuity in the Dean's Office and will facilitate the transition of Michael into his new position at the College.
Additionally, I'd like to acknowledge our national search firm, Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates, for identifying and presenting numerous well-qualified candidates, and I would like to express my deep appreciation to our dedicated search committee, which included Denise Smith (Vice Chair), Cerri Banks, Marta Brunner, Amon Emeka, Tim Harper, Christine Merrill, Viviana Rangil, Henry Jaffe '18, and Kali Villarosa '18.
Please join me in welcoming our new colleague Michael T. Orr to the Skidmore community.