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Announcement: Interim Dean, School of the Arts

Dear members of the Emerson community,

I am pleased to announce that Dr. Maria Koundoura, Assistant Provost for Strategic Projects and former Chair of the Writing, Literature, and Publishing (WLP) Department, has accepted my invitation to serve in an interim role as Dean of the School of the Arts, beginning immediately. President-designate Dr. Jay Bernhardt is in full support of this invitation.

She will succeed Dean Rob Sabal, who departed Emerson earlier this month to become Provost at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore.

As interim dean, Dr. Koundoura will work with department chairs and faculty within the School of Arts to continue the important work of the school, strengthen existing programs and explore new initiatives.

Dr. Koundoura is an internationally known scholar, an award winning teacher, and an experienced academic leader in curriculum development, diversity, global engagement, and strategy. This past year she was author of the 2022 NECHE self study, past roles include: Academic Co-Chair for the Internationalization and Global Engagement Initiative (2013–2015), Initiator and Co-Chair for both the Emerson Diversity Task Force (2005) and Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies and Liberal Arts Committee (2001-2002). She has served as Faculty Assembly Chair, Graduate Program Director (MFA and MA) and Undergraduate Coordinator for WLP, Acting Director of the Institute of Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies, Chair of WLP and, most recently, as Special Advisor to the Provost and Assistant Provost. She joined Emerson in 1994 as a tenure track professor, rising in the ranks to full professor.

She has authored several books including Transnational Culture, Transnational Identity: The Politics and Ethics of Global Culture Exchange (I.B. Tauris/Palgrave MacMillan) and is currently working on a book in progress, Desire Lines: Metaphors of the Global City. Her numerous articles and book chapters have appeared in Interculturality,The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Practice, Multicultural States (Routledge), Postcolonial Reason and its Critiques (Oxford), and many other global publications. She has given many invited lectures and talks across the United States and the world, including at: Harvard University, Brown University, Stanford University, and the UN Forum on Creative Industries and Trade Digitalization (UNCTAD) in Barbados where she talked about reparations. The recipient of several research fellowships, including from the Whiting Foundation, she has also received several teaching and service awards.

At Emerson, she has also served on and chaired many academic committees including the Department Promotion and Tenure, Faculty Status, Curriculum, several search committees as well as the Strategic Planning, Diversity, Academic Policy and Education Abroad committees. In addition, she has been a reviewer for the Fulbright Fellowship, was on the Harvard Writers and Scholars at Risk committee, has served on program reviews for the College of Wooster (OH), University of Thessaly, (Greece) and others and has managed, organized and convened several conferences, arts events, and screenings.

Prior to joining Emerson in 1994, she was Project Manager of the inaugural Antipodes Arts Festival in Melbourne, Australia (1986–1987), which was jointly supported by the Ministry of Culture of Greece and Arts Victoria. She was also a script consultant for the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles for Lucas films (1993). She holds a Ph.D. in English Literature, from Stanford University, an M.A. in English Literature, University of Melbourne, Australia, a B.A. (First Class Honors), University of Melbourne, Australia. She is also bilingual in Greek. 

Emerson is very fortunate to have such depth of faculty talent, leadership and dedication to service to draw from and Dr. Koundoura is well positioned to further the creative work of the School of the Arts as the College transitions to new leadership this summer.

Please join me in welcoming her as interim dean.

William P. Gilligan, EdD

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