UC Berkeley News


Broughton named arts and humanities dean at L&S
Expert on Hume and Descartes to succeed Hexter in key role

| 31 May 2006

Janet Broughton (Steve McConnell photo)

Janet Broughton, a professor of philosophy, will become the next dean of arts and humanities in the College of Letters and Science, starting July 1. She will fill the position now held by Anthony Cascardi, a professor of comparative literature, Spanish, and rhetoric who has served as interim dean of arts and humanities since Ralph Hexter left to become president of Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass.

Broughton "combines intellectual stature as a student of philosophy, a sharp analytic mind, a broad understanding of the arts and humanities, proven administrative ability, and superb interpersonal skills for this deanship," says George Breslauer, executive dean of the college and the recently named executive vice chancellor and provost-designate. "I look forward to working with her to maintain and enhance the stature of the arts and humanities at UC Berkeley."

More than half of Berkeley's faculty members teach in the College of Letters and Science, which includes three-quarters of the university's undergraduates and almost half of its Ph.D.s. Broughton will work with other L&S deans who oversee the biological sciences, physical sciences, social sciences, and undergraduate divisions.

"I strongly believe the people of California deserve a university that fosters intelligent, informed reflection upon diverse arts, cultures, and values," she says. "I'm proud of all the ways that the division of arts and humanities contributes to this mission; there's really no place in the world that can outdo Berkeley in the range and quality of its arts and humanities programs."

Holub of L&S to assume provost role at Tennessee

The University of Tennessee has announced that it has appointed Robert Holub as its provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. Holub, dean of the undergraduate division within the College of Letters and Science and a Berkeley faculty member since 1979, will assume the Tennessee post in August.

At L&S, Holub has been "extraordinarily committed to nurturing rich intellectual relationships between faculty members and students," said Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Paul Gray. "That commitment led to the development of L&S Discovery Courses, which are taught by distinguished teachers on topics designed to add genuine breadth to undergraduate education."

Holub currently oversees curriculum and instruction for 18,000 undergraduates. At the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, he will oversee all academic operations, including eight colleges, all graduate programs, enrollment services, and libraries.

"We are incredibly fortunate to attract a scholar and administrator of Bob's caliber," said Tennessee Chancellor Loren Crabtree. "His skills and service at one of the nation's premier public research universities will ensure we advance in our goal of becoming a top 25 public research university."

The division of arts and humanities includes the departments of art history, art practice, classics, comparative literature, East Asian languages and cultures, English, French, German, Italian studies, music, Near Eastern studies, philosophy, rhetoric, Scandinavian, Slavic languages and literatures, South and Southeast Asian studies, Spanish and Portuguese, and theater, dance, and performance studies. It also encompasses film studies, the Townsend Center for the Humanities, the Consortium for the Arts, and other groups.

Broughton says that the biggest challenge for the division is to thrive and flourish despite current budget austerities.

"We must continue to recruit outstanding faculty members and graduate students, and to offer the full range of courses that Berkeley's undergraduates want and need," she says. "Given the talent, energy, and dedication of the arts and humanities faculty, I think these are challenges we can meet."

A native of New York, Broughton attended Mount Holyoke College for a year before joining the VISTA program and working on community programs for preschoolers and teenagers in Houston's Third Ward. After VISTA she worked as the programmer and announcer for a classical music show on WRVR radio in New York City.

Returning to school, she earned a B.A. in philosophy at UC Davis, then did graduate work at Princeton University, writing her dissertation on Descartes' theory of causality and earning her Ph.D. there. (Broughton is a respected authority on 17th- and 18th-century philosophy; her research focuses on the history of modern philosophy, particularly Descartes and the Scottish philosopher David Hume.)

Broughton's first academic position was at Harvard University. She joined Berkeley's philosophy department in 1979 and was its chair for five years. She was a member of the 2003-04 campus task force on faculty compensation; she also served on the Academic Senate's Committee on Budget and Interdisciplinary Relations, chairing it in 2004-05. In addition, she has served as a distinguished member of many committees and boards at UC and other academic institutions.

She is the author of a book, Descartes' Method of Doubt (2001), and a number of articles on Descartes and Hume. Currently she is co-editing Blackwell's Companion to Descartes and writing a book about Hume. Broughton is on the editorial boards of the scholarly journals Hume Studies and Journal of the History of Philosophy. She has taught courses on skepticism, free will, the mind-body problem, and the nature of personal identity, as well as the history of philosophy.

Broughton's salary as dean will be $182,000 a year. She will receive a standard benefits package and continue to accrue sabbatical credits while serving as dean. Broughton also will retain a previously awarded five-year research grant of $6,000 per year.

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