Colleges Welcome New Leaders
Deans appointed at COM, SED, SSW| From Commonwealth
Ushering in a new era of leadership at three of its schools and colleges, Boston University has appointed a trio of new deans since March: Tom Fiedler, former executive editor of the Miami Herald, at the College of Communication; Hardin L. K. Coleman, an educator and psychologist, at the School of Education; and Gail Steketee, who had been dean ad interim, at the School of Social Work.
A Pulitzer-winning newsman
Tom Fiedler (COM’71) succeeds Tobe Berkovitz, a COM associate professor of communication, who was appointed dean ad interim in September 2006, following the resignation of Dean John Schulz.
“I cannot tell you how thrilled I am about this,” says Fiedler. “It was at COM that I learned the skills that set me off on a career in journalism and gave me the appreciation of what that profession meant.”
After graduating from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy with a bachelor’s in engineering, Fiedler earned a master’s degree in journalism at COM. He joined the Miami Herald, where he remained on staff for more than thirty years, culminating as the executive editor, from 2001 to 2007. His investigative work for a series on a religious cult earned the paper a Pulitzer Prize in 1991. The Herald’s entire staff won another Pulitzer in 1993 for coverage of Hurricane Andrew.
Before joining COM as dean, Fiedler was a Visiting Murrow Lecturer and Goldsmith Fellow at Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy.
COM presented him with a Distinguished Alumni Award in 2003 and the Hugo Shong Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism in 2005. He was elected a member of BU’s Board of Overseers in 2006.
Although Fiedler hasn’t laid out specific goals he’ll pursue as dean, he raises the issue of COM’s aging facilities. “The building and the physical space at COM should be truly reflective of the professions the college serves and the technology that is part of communications today,” he says. —Chris Berdik
Hardin L. K. Coleman
A Global Educator
Leading University of Wisconsin–Madison educator and psychologist Hardin L. K. Coleman specializes in preparing school counselors for culturally diverse settings.
“I look forward to helping the School of Education become a national model for such things as how to integrate science and practice, how to understand how technological advances need to be integrated into the practice of education, and how to train teachers who can effectively address the challenges of working in an increasingly diverse and global society,” Coleman says.
Coleman has been the ad interim associate dean of Wisconsin’s School of Education since 2004 and a professor of counseling psychology. His research has focused on the development of school-based interventions that support the academic achievement of students from racial and ethnic minority backgrounds, while his teaching has concentrated on equipping students and professionals to effectively counsel and serve the needs of a diverse school population.
A graduate of Williams College, he earned a master’s degree in counseling from the University of Vermont. He spent ten years as a high school religion teacher and school counselor in Quaker schools before earning a doctorate in counseling from Stanford University.
Coleman succeeds Dean ad interim Charles Glenn (SED’87), a professor and chairman of educational administration and policy. Glenn will remain on the SED faculty. —Art Jahnke
A Proven Leader
Gail Steketee, provisional head of the School of Social Work since 2005, was appointed dean of SSW in the wake of two nationwide searches.
“After our last search was not successful, it became clear that it was important to our faculty and administrative staff, and to the provost and the president, that I be a candidate for the role,” Steketee says. “I think that they felt I would be able to provide sensitive leadership from a position of strength in my academic career and my relationships with faculty and staff to move our many agendas forward over the coming years.”
Steketee joined BU in 1986. As a researcher, she has received several grants from the National Institute of Mental Health, including a $1.17 million award in 2005 to study compulsive hoarding.
As dean, Steketee plans to hold a faculty and staff retreat this fall to examine the school’s priorities, which include broadening the doctoral program in sociology and social work and launching a trauma certificate program to address problems faced by returning Iraq War veterans.
She earned an undergraduate degree from Radcliffe College and a master’s degree and a Ph.D. from Bryn Mawr Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research. Steketee’s husband, Brian McCorkle (GRS’92,’99), is director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Psychology in BU’s Danielsen Institute. Their son, Brendan McCorkle, is a graduate of Boston University Academy. —Caleb Daniloff