New Dean and Vice President Appointments

February 19, 2021

Dear CMC Community:

I am delighted to announce two new Vice President appointments at the College, both which emerged from the recent search for the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty.  

Earlier today, the Board of Trustees appointed Professor Heather Antecol as Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty, and also appointed Pitzer Professor and former Dean Muriel Poston as Vice President for Strategic Initiatives, a new senior position for the College that focuses on implementing CMC’s integrated sciences and computation strategy; reinforcing and expanding The Open Academy commitments both at CMC and nationally; and advancing and integrating The Presidential Initiative on Anti-Racism and the Black Experience in America.

Dr. Antecol will begin her new role immediately. Dr. Poston will serve in a part-time role for the College until she fulfills her current teaching and leadership responsibilities this semester. She will start her full-time role as Vice President on June 1.

These appointments expand our College leadership capabilities in response to a critical moment in CMC’s history, as we fulfill our shared commitments to:

The persistent pursuit of our liberal arts and leadership mission and singular academic programs through COVID-19’s protracted disruption of residential higher education;

The implementation of our vision for integrated sciences and computation, one of the most ambitious academic projects in the College’s history;

The effectuation of our Open Academy commitments and actions guided by The Presidential Initiative on Anti-Racism and the Black Experience in America—our intellectual and material educational response to the challenges facing our democracy, from political polarization to racism and inequality; and 

The further expansion of student opportunity at CMC, in order to both realize and exemplify how best to remove formidable obstacles to social mobility through higher education.

Given the extraordinary demands of these challenges, our search process revealed the need and opportunity to make a greater investment in our faculty, students, and staff to persist through COVID-19 and simultaneously tackle these major strategic initiatives. As responsibilities in the Dean of the Faculty office have grown significantly, the addition of a new senior position helps us to meet those pressing needs and put the best team of talent to work. Vice Presidents Antecol and Poston, each and together, present the most powerful answer and investment in all we are committed to achieve.

Heather Antecol, the Boswell Professor of Economics, is a distinguished scholar, former chair of the Robert Day School of Economics and Finance, former director of the Berger Institute, and the most recent chair of the Administration Committee. She has had more than 30 publications appear in highly-respected economics journals, including a 2018 paper on the impact of gender-neutral tenure clock stopping policies for family-related reasons on tenure rates in the American Economic Review, a top five economic journal, that also received attention from the New York Times. Dean Antecol has won the European Association of Labour Economics Prize for the best paper published in Labour Economics during the period 2000-2001, and at CMC, has been named a recipient of the Roy P. Crocker Award for Merit and the Glenn R. Huntoon Award for Superior Teaching. Since joining CMC in 2001, she has gained extensive experience within the College’s academic and shared governance frameworks, and will ensure our outstanding academic programs support and strengthen our mission. Dean Antecol will report directly to the President and assume all of the responsibilities of Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty, while working closely with the faculty, the President’s Executive Cabinet, and Vice President Poston.

Muriel Poston is a nationally renowned leader in national science education and research, with a public policy focus and extensive decanal leadership experience at Skidmore College, Howard University, and Pitzer College. She has held several leadership roles at the National Science Foundation, including Division Director in Biological Sciences and Division Director in Education and Human Resources. As a plant systematist and professor of environmental studies, she has worked to support efforts to broaden the participation of underrepresented students and faculty in STEM disciplines. She also has sought to enhance the capacity and infrastructure of STEM facilities and, while at Howard, developed the university’s environmental science program and curated the herbarium. Vice President Poston has served as a member of the National Academy of Sciences Board of Life Sciences, as a past chair of the NSF Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering, and is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the American Institute of Biological Sciences. She will report directly to the President, serve as a member of the President’s Executive Cabinet, and work closely with faculty, staff, students, and Dean Antecol. She also will join each of the key committees working on our integrated sciences and computation strategy; The Open Academy; The Presidential Initiative on Anti-Racism and the Black Experience in America; and provide continued academic guidance for the CMC opportunity strategy. 

We are thrilled to have each of these impressive academic leaders on our team, guiding and supporting us during this critical moment.  

Special thanks to Co-Interim Deans Shana Levin and Emily Wiley for leading us through the past few months, along with Ellen Rentz and Drew Schroeder, who stepped in as Associate Deans to provide critical support for our academic programs this year.  

We also are indebted to our search committee, who generated the opportunities for this exciting outcome:

  • Eric Helland P’20 (chair), William F. Podlich Professor of Economics and George R. Roberts Fellow;
  • Elena Castellanos ’21, a PPE and public policy major;
  • Nyree Gray, Associate Vice President for Diversity & Inclusion and Chief Civil Rights Officer;
  • Laura Grisolano ’86, Vice-Chair of the Board Affairs Committee and former President of the CMC Alumni Association;
  • Amy Kind, Russell K. Pitzer Professor of Philosophy;
  • Dan Krauss, Professor of Psychology;
  • Jim McElwee ’74 P’12, Chair of the Academic Affairs Committee;
  • Shanna Rose, Tuohy Associate Professor of Government and Management;
  • Derik Smith, Associate Professor of Literature; and
  • Nancy Williams, Associate Professor of Chemistry.

Further thanks to each of the many talented and dedicated candidates for this position, and to each of you who attended presentations, workshops, or interviews during this process. Your feedback was invaluable.

Please join me in congratulating our new Vice Presidents Heather Antecol and Muriel Poston and supporting them in their transition during this challenging, exciting time for CMC.

Very best,