Dan Weiss knows what road he wants to take as dean of the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. In fact, he helped draw the map: the school’s new strategic plan.
So Weiss expects a seamless transition when he takes over July 1 from Richard McCarty, his predecessor as the Krieger School’s James B. Knapp Dean.
“My assuming this position represents a commitment to continue the work begun under Dean McCarty,” said Weiss, whose nomination by President William Brody was approved by the board of trustees last week.
“Our priorities as articulated in that plan,” Weiss said, “include focusing on the competitiveness of our faculty, making sure that they have the resources they need to continue to maintain Hopkins as a leader in the disciplines in which we have made a commitment to excel.” Increasing faculty diversity is also a key commitment, one on which the school has begun to make “significant progress,” he said.
The plan also focuses, Weiss said, on the educational mission of the school, including supporting departmental and interdisciplinary programs at the graduate level and building “on our commitment to the undergraduate experience.”
“That,” he said, “includes increasing the number of seminar courses offered to undergraduates, diversifying--intellectually, ethnically and racially--our undergraduate student body to make this a more interesting place and, finally, providing material resources in the form of financial aid and facilities to make the undergraduate environment strong.”
McCarty will become dean emeritus and special adviser to President Brody, and will continue after July 1 to work with fellow alumni of the Krieger School, where he earned both his undergraduate and doctoral degrees. But he said he decided to step down as dean at the end of this academic year because he was anxious to return to his first professional love, his role as a professor in the Biology Department.
“I have missed active involvement in my laboratory and teaching,” McCarty said. “Research is a part of my very fabric. In September, I received a five-year renewal of my grant from the National Science Foundation. This award has made me even more eager to spend more time in the lab.” He said he also feels the Krieger School’s dean must be committed to seeing through a new multiyear campaign to fund initiatives outlined in the strategic plan.
The transition from McCarty to Weiss offers a measure of stability and continuity for a Krieger School that has, for one reason and another, had a half-dozen changes in the Dean’s Office in nine years.
“Ordinarily, when a dean leaves office, we do a thorough national search,” Brody said in a broadcast e-mail message last week announcing the appointment. “In this case, in consultation with the Krieger School’s department chairs and Provost Steven Knapp, the trustees and I have decided that the choice is an obvious one. Given the urgency of launching the new campaign and our great fortune in having so eminently qualified a candidate, making Dan’s appointment now is the right thing to do.”
Weiss is a double-degree graduate of the Krieger School, with a master’s degree in art history earned in 1982 and a doctorate awarded 10 years later, after a detour through the world of business. He earned an MBA, with a concentration in nonprofit management, in 1985 from the Yale School of Management. He worked for the next four years for the consulting firm of Booz, Allen & Hamilton before returning to academia.
After receiving his doctorate, he joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in the History of Art Department in 1993 and was chairman of the department from 1998 until last year. In 1994, he won the Van Courtland Elliott Prize, becoming one of the first art historians to win that award from the Medieval Academy of America. He has twice won Johns Hopkins awards for teaching excellence.