CAS Dean Donald Hall Named to Post at University of Rochester

Donald Hall, Lehigh’s Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of English, was recently named the University of Rochester’s next Robert L. and Mary L. Sproull Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Sciences & Engineering. He will begin his new role on June 30th.


At Rochester, Hall’s leadership role will include academic, administrative, and financial responsibility for more than 350 faculty members, 5,200 undergraduates, and 1,200 graduate students. He will lead a team of deans responsible for the School of Arts & Sciences, the Hajim School of Engineering & Applied Sciences, and the undergraduate college. He will also oversee budgeting, development and advancement, faculty hiring and retention and departmental leadership. Hall will be responsible for all aspects of AS&E’s academic programs and research, admissions, and athletics, as well as fostering rich interactions among the curricular and co-curricular activities of the core academic unit of the university.


“It has been an extraordinary honor to work with my colleagues at Lehigh University for the past seven years,” says Hall. “President Simon and Provost Farrell have been strong supporters of the College of Arts and Sciences, and I have enjoyed immensely the time I have spent with my fellow deans and the stellar faculty, staff, and students of CAS. Lehigh is poised for extraordinary success in the future. Our alumni are some of the most passionate and gifted supporters whom I have ever encountered in my 25-plus years in higher education. I thank them deeply for their dedication and help over the years.”


In the time Hall has been at Lehigh, Provost Patrick V. Farrell said that he has had “a remarkable impact on both the college he led and the university he served. His broad strategic plan for the college helped prioritize diversity, internationalization and the support of student and faculty work across disciplines, and resulted in historic advances in faculty research productivity. In a broader sense, he also championed the potential for dialogue that leads to deeper understanding and social change, and he supported that initiative through creative, dynamic and effective programming. While I have no doubt he is up to the challenge of his next role, we will miss him at Lehigh.”


Hall came to Lehigh in mid-2011, after being named to the endowed position of the Herbert J. and Ann L. Siegel Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences following a national search that brought several candidates to the campus to meet with faculty and staff at open meetings.


With his CAS role, Hall oversaw the university’s largest college, with more than 250 full-time faculty, more than 100 staff, 18 academic departments and 15 interdisciplinary programs. That blend of broad subject matter, he said in an interview, “fosters conversation, dialogue and teaching across traditional disciplines,” arming students with the skills they will need to confront the complexity of global challenges. “There are problems not solvable through the lens of an individual discipline,” said Hall, a passionate advocate for the broad benefits of a liberal arts education, who spoke and wrote frequently on the subject.


He is credited with devising and implementing the college’s broad strategic plan that helped prioritize diversity, internationalization and the support of student and faculty work across disciplines. Hall also created the college’s marketing brand of “Dialogue Toward Understanding,” which was amplified through programming, interdisciplinary initiatives, fundraising efforts and social media.


Prior to his role at Lehigh, Hall was the Jackson Distinguished Professor and chair of the department of English at West Virginia University, where he also served as the chair of the department of Foreign Languages.


Earlier, he was the chair of the department of English at California State University, Northridge, and had served previously as coordinator of the Humanities Interdisciplinary Studies Program and Interim Associate Dean at that institution.


As a scholar, his research and teaching focuses on British studies, queer theory, cultural studies, and professional studies. His current work examines issues such as professional responsibility and academic community-building, ethics and agency in sexuality studies. His many books include The Academic Community: A Manual for Change, published by Ohio State University Press in 2007, and Reading Sexualities: Hermeneutic Theory and the Future of Queer Studies, published by Routledge in 2009.


Hall is a recipient of the University Distinguished Teaching Award at CSUN, was a visiting professor at the National University of Rwanda, a 2001 Lansdowne Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the University of Victoria, Canada, and was Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Cultural Studies at Karl Franzens University in Graz, Austria, for 2004-05. He also served as a Fulbright Specialist at the University of Helsinki, Finland in 2006 and at Karl Franzens University in 2010.


In 2012, he was elected National President of the Association of Departments of English. His current and forthcoming work examines issues such as professional responsibility and academic community-building, ethics and agency in sexuality studies, and the Victorian (and our continuing) interest in the deployment of instrumental agency over our social, vocational, and sexual selves.


Hall earned his Ph.D. in English from the University of Maryland, a master’s degree in comparative literature from the University of Illinois, and a bachelor’s degree in German and political science from the University of Alabama.

Related Stories

Cameron Wesson Named CAS Interim Dean

Wesson begins his new role on June 1.