Announcement Regarding Carol Becker, Dean of the School of the Arts

October 24, 2022

Dear fellow members of the Columbia community:

I write to share that Carol Becker, Dean of our School of the Arts, plans to step down at the end of this academic year. Since 2007, Carol has led the School with warmth, grit, and skill, shining a bright light on the central role that art and artists play in furthering the University’s mission and in serving the interests of our global society. After her term as Dean concludes on June 30, 2023, Carol will remain Professor of the Arts, return to teaching and writing, and also continue her work with other programs to integrate art and artists into the fabric of the larger university.

Carol’s 16 years as Dean will be remembered as a period of dramatic growth for the School of the Arts. Under her leadership, the School nurtured innovative programmatic initiatives, invested in new and emerging technologies, centralized its operations with the Arts Initiative and Miller Theatre, grew the number of full-time tenured faculty significantly, and invested in financial aid, working closely with her development team to create a number of full-tuition scholarships in film, theatre, visual arts, and writing. Carol and her team’s efforts have produced one of the most diverse schools in the institution.

No celebration of Carol at this University would be complete without a discussion of the monumental achievement that is the Lenfest Center for the Arts, which opened in Manhattanville in 2017. She and her colleagues collaborated with the Renzo Piano Building Workshop to develop the vision for the School’s new venue building, resulting in a forward-looking interdisciplinary site for the arts that houses lectures, symposia, readings, film screenings, exhibitions, and theatrical productions.

An accomplished author and scholar, Carol began her academic career more than three decades ago and worked at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago as Dean of Faculty and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs before coming to Columbia. She has published extensively on a wide range of topics such as the role of art and artists in a global society, feminist theory, and American cultural history. During her time at Columbia, she published a collection of essays entitled Thinking in Place: Art, Action, and Cultural Production (2009), and a powerful memoir entitled Losing Helen (2016) about the complexities of life and loss as she and her mother navigated the challenges of illness and death.

I will soon share details regarding the creation of a search committee to identify Carol’s successor. It is a special pleasure, for me personally, and on behalf of the School and the University, to congratulate Carol on all she has achieved and thank her for her remarkable service.


Lee C. Bollinger