UC appoints interim dean to head College of Arts and Sciences

Margaret Hanson will lead UC’s largest college into 2023

Professor of Physics Margaret Hanson has been appointed interim dean of the University of Cincinnati’s College of Arts and Sciences. Hanson’s appointment follows the move of former Dean Valerio Ferme to UC’s  provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, and took effect August 1. She will hold the post until August, 2023.

Hanson’s role as Divisional Dean of Natural Sciences will be filled by Professor Emeritus of Geology Arnold Miller until a permanent appointment is made.

Hanson plans to build on the college’s successes during Ferme’s term as dean, including: a record $21+ million in research funding; national and international recognition for faculty; increasing graduation rates; and strides forward in equity with the appointment of Associate Professor of Sociology, Littisha Bates as Associate Dean of Inclusive Excellence and Community Partnerships for A&S.

The leadership change takes place as the college—with the rest of the university—emerges from an unprecedented academic year, when the school was forced by the pandemic to pivot rapidly to a remote learning model. The college continues to face challenges posed by COVID-19 and its Delta variant.

Interim dean of UC's College of Arts and Sciences Margaret Hanson

Interim dean of UC's College of Arts and Sciences Margaret Hanson

“Val did an amazing job supporting the staff and faculty through the transition to virtual learning and research,” Hanson said. “This is also when our faculty and staff really showed their professionalism, compassion, and stamina, and they continued to work hard to successfully do their jobs despite the severe conditions.”

“We want to see the college continue with its outstanding research success, improving the climate for staff and faculty, increasing student support and success, and advancing several other important initiatives which will continue to transform the college in a very positive way.”

With more than 8,000 undergraduate and 1,000 graduate students, A&S is UC’s largest and most diverse college, providing more than 70 degrees in the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities. The college is a leader in cyber education and training, archaeological discoveries, and scientific research, to name a few.

The wealth of expertise that Margaret brings ... ensures that A&S will be served exceedingly well during her deanship.”

Valerio Ferme UC Provost

Says Ferme of Hanson’s new leadership role: “I believe that Dean Hanson’s appointment achieves two goals: continuity with the strategic goals the College has set for itself in the past few years; and bringing a student-centered and research-focused approach to A&S’ leadership. The wealth of expertise that Margaret brings from occupying previous administrative roles in the Graduate School and College ensures that A&S will be served exceedingly well during her deanship.”

Hanson has served UC for more than 20 years, coming to the department of Physics in 1998 as an assistant professor. She was tenured in 2003, then became a full professor in 2009, and served as director for undergraduate studies in physics for many years. Hanson served as Associate University Dean for The Graduate School at UC from 2011 to 2016, and was appointed Divisional Dean for Natural Sciences in A&S in 2016.

With a PhD in astrophysics from the University of Colorado and research focusing on stars and stellar systems, Hanson also served for eight years as associate editor-in-chief of The Astronomical Journal.

With many positive events on the horizon, Hanson says she is optimistic about the forecast for the coming academic year. “With the school year almost here, everyone is focused on students returning to the classroom.  But so many other events are also occurring, such as new or expanding research centers or groups, new projects being funded, and new schools and degree programs.”

“We have a new building being built to hold many of our core units. And, as we welcome new staff and faculty hires, with them come new ideas for how we can work better together across the college and achieve more. Improving climate, embracing diversity, and creating inclusive practices are necessary to our achieving excellence. That is the kind of goal to which everyone can contribute.”

Featured image at top: Aerial view of UC's Uptown Campus.