CMC names Founding Chair for Integrated Sciences

Portrait of Dr. Ran (“Ron”) Libeskind-Hadas
July 23, 2021

Dr. Ran (“Ron”) Libeskind-Hadas has joined Claremont McKenna College as Founding Chair for its new Department of Integrated Sciences.

As Founding Chair, Dr. Libeskind-Hadas will work with the faculty and senior College leadership to lead the Department. CMC plans to recruit a diverse group of 25 world-class teacher-scholars, foster student success across the widest range of experiences and backgrounds, and develop a next-generation multi- and interdisciplinary curriculum.

Specifically, the Department will offer an innovative, inclusive pedagogy in integrated sciences; a strong computational foundation; introductory and advanced hands-on research opportunities; cross-cutting programming that bridges both to and from the social sciences and humanities; and a commitment to take on the big questions of science and technology in the public sphere.

“Dr. Libeskind-Hadas’ innovative leadership will help us to develop dynamic collaborations and partnerships across all academic departments and centers to take on the major issues at the intersection of the scientific discovery, computational method, and technological application with government, economics, ethics, and other related fields,” said President Hiram E. Chodosh.

Dr. Libeskind-Hadas most recently served as the R. Michael Shanahan Endowed Professor of Computer Science at Harvey Mudd College. While there, he jointly led the Core Revision Committee that was tasked with revising the college’s core curriculum, a challenge given the need to balance preparation for all majors, as well as establish the broad foundations of a STEM-based liberal arts education.

Dr. Libeskind-Hadas was also one of the co-developers of the “CS For All” family of introductory courses at Harvey Mudd that sought to provide students with compelling and relevant exposure to various computing fields. Those courses have since been taken by all students across The Claremont Colleges and have served as a prototype for other colleges and universities to adopt. 

As a department chair and associate dean of the faculty at Harvey Mudd, Dr. Libeskind-Hadas also worked to recruit and support exceptional colleagues from traditionally underrepresented groups while helping the college achieve gender parity in both the computer science major and faculty, a leading example for higher education. His dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the sciences, particularly through a funded Mellon Foundation program, helped provide incoming Harvey Mudd students with cohort experience, foundational practice, mentorship, and research opportunities during academic years and summers. During his years in Claremont, Dr. Libeskind-Hadas has also worked extensively with CMC students as a computer science major adviser.

“I’m thrilled to be joining CMC and working with the community to develop an innovative science program that connects strongly with the College’s mission and existing strengths in the social sciences and the humanities,” he said. “I’m particularly excited about developing fully integrated science curricula that are welcoming, engaging, and compelling to all CMC students.”

With scientific expertise in applied mathematics and computer science, Dr. Libeskind-Hadas has conducted significant research in computational biology—specifically in the areas of phylogenetics and computational methods in molecular biology. He received his B.A. from Harvard University and his M.S. and Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Illinois. 

Dr. Libeskind-Hadas currently serves on the Advisory Committee for the National Science Foundation’s Computer and Information Science and Engineering Division, and holds national leadership positions with the Computing Research Association, the Caltech Schmidt Academy of Software Engineering, and the Editorial Board of the Communications of the Association for Computing Machinery.

Thomas Rozwadowski

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