Friedman School dean search to launch this fall
Published: Monday, September 17, 2012
Updated: Monday, September 17, 2012 07:09
The search for the next dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy will launch this semester, a year later than originally planned.
Interim Dean of the Friedman School Robin Kanarek, who has held her post since former dean Eileen Kennedy stepped down in July 2011, will continue to serve as dean for the remainder of the academic year. The search was delayed because of the absence of a permanent provost and senior vice president during the 2011-2012 academic year.
“It really is the provost who initiates the search,” Kanarek said. “The search will begin in the near future now that we have our new provost, [Provost and Senior Vice President] David Harris.”
Since his arrival at Tufts in July, Harris has been familiarizing himself with the university’s various schools and engaging faculty and administrators in preparation of launching search committees to fill the position of the Friedman School dean. Other deanships that remain unfilled include the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service.
“I am interviewing search firms in preparation for three dean searches this semester: Friedman, Fletcher and Tisch,” Harris told the Daily in an email. “We will form search committees and launch searches this semester, with an expectation that new deans will be in place before the start of next academic year.”
Harris said that he will chair the Friedman School search committee and select a group of faculty, academic administrators, staff, students and alumni who will also serve on it.
Kennedy hopes the next appointed leader will be committed to further developing the nutrition school and expanding its academic and international influence.
“I think for the next dean, you want somebody who’s a visionary,” Kennedy said. “You want somebody who looks at what is needed at the school to create future leaders of nutrition and to facilitate cutting edge nutrition research.”
Harris said he plans to consult Kanarek at the outset of the new dean search to outline the needs of the Friedman School moving forward and looks forward to collaborating with her even more after her term as interim dean ends.
“Dean Kanarek has done a spectacular job as interim dean,” Harris said. “We are fortunate that [she] will still continue to be a member of the Tufts faculty when her term ends.”
Kanarek said that during her term she worked to increase interdisciplinary collaboration with an emphasis on nutrition across the schools at Tufts.
“Basically every school at Tufts has ties to nutrition, and we’re trying to make those ties stronger,” Kanarek said. “One of the goals I’ve always had is to broaden nutrition at Tufts and specifically to get more undergraduates involved in nutrition.”
The Friedman School introduced several initiatives in support of this goal, including the creation of a Nutrition Committee that finds ways to incorporate nutrition studies into curricula and research throughout the university.
Kanarek said a freshman seminar on introductory nutrition will debut in spring 2013 on the Medford/Somerville campus, a class that she will teach as part of a team of professors.
Kennedy praised Kanarek for all she has accomplished during her time as interim dean.
“I couldn’t think of a better choice [for interim dean],” Kennedy said. “Robin [Kanarek] has done a superb job. She knows the school, she knows what we’re doing, and she has a long, rich history of teaching and research at Tufts University.”
After stepping down as dean, Kennedy spent the past year on sabbatical working with the World Health Organization and a U.S. agency for international development called the Collective Research Support Program (CRSP), conducting research in Nepal and Ethiopia to boost nutrition improvement efforts.
Kennedy returned to Tufts this fall as a professor, co-teaching a course for Friedman School graduate students on nutrition policy and programming.
“I would love to be here more rather than less,” she said.