Brown University News Bureau

The Brown University News Bureau

1995-1996 index

Distributed May 28, 1996
Contact: Tracie Sweeney

Kathryn T. Spoehr will succeed Bryan E. Shepp as dean of the faculty

Kathryn T. Spoehr, Brown University's dean of the Graduate School and research, has been named the new dean of the faculty. She will succeed Bryan E. Shepp, who is stepping down June 30 to return to teaching in the Department of Psychology.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Brown University President Vartan Gregorian has announced that Kathryn T. Spoehr, the University's dean of the Graduate School and research since October 1993, has been named dean of the faculty, effective July 1, 1996. She will replace Bryan E. Shepp, who is stepping down as the University's chief advocate for the faculty to return to teaching in the Department of Psychology. Shepp will take a two-year sabbatical before resuming his teaching duties.

Spoehr, a member of the Department of Cognitive and Linguistic Sciences at Brown, received her A.B. degree at Brown University in 1969 magna cum laude and with honors in mathematical psychology. She did graduate work in psychology and computer science (artificial intelligence) at Stanford University, where she was awarded the A.M. degree in 1971 and the Ph.D. in 1973. She joined the Brown faculty in 1974 as assistant professor of psychology. Promoted to associate professor in 1980 and to professor in 1993, Spoehr served as chair of the Department of Cognitive and Linguistic Sciences from 1991 to 1993. She has taught a variety of courses in cognitive psychology at both undergraduate and graduate levels and has served on numerous departmental and University committees.

Spoehr "is an enormously talented, experienced and well-respected member of the Brown community," said University Provost James R. Pomerantz. "She combines the highest standards of scholarship with proven administrative experience. As a Brown alumna, Kathy brings a knowledge of Brown's history and commitment to Brown's future that will serve us all well. I cannot imagine a person more qualified to be Brown's next dean of the faculty."

Shepp has been teaching and working at Brown for 32 years, first as an assistant professor, then as associate professor and professor in the departments of psychology and cognitive and linguistic sciences. His particular area of research is object perception. He has been dean of the faculty since July 1991, and previously was associate dean of the faculty (1988-91). Shepp received his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Maryland and has done postdoctoral research at the University of Connecticut.

Shepp "has rendered valuable service to Brown University over many years," Pomerantz said. As dean and associate dean of the faculty, "Bryan has played a central role in some of the most important decisions that any university can make. Chief among those, of course, are the recruitment, appointment and retention of faculty. Bryan has worked tirelessly at a job whose complexity goes far beyond what most of us ever perceive. He leaves as his legacy both a cadre of faculty whose careers he has touched and a lasting set of innovations in how faculty accomplishments are recognized and rewarded. We all wish him the best of luck as he takes a well-deserved sabbatical that will help him return to his full-time teaching and research duties in the Department of Psychology."

Plans are under way to seek a new dean of the Graduate School and research, Pomerantz said.