Distributed July 25, 2001
For Immediate Release
News Service Contact: Mark Nickel

Diane Balestri named VP for Computing and Information Services

Diane Pelkus Balestri, currently vice president at Vassar College, has been named vice president for computing and information services at Brown University. She will begin her work at Brown in January 2002.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Diane Pelkus Balestri, currently vice president for computing and information services officer at Vassar College, has been named vice president for computing and information services at Brown University. She succeeds Don Wolfe, who retired July 1.

Balestri will begin her formal duties at Brown in January 2002. Until then, she will serve as a consultant, visiting the Brown campus frequently. Thomas L. Dean, chair and professor of computer science, has been serving as acting vice president since Wolfe’s retirement and will continue in that post until Balestri arrives.

“Diane Balestri has a wealth of experience in the classroom, as an academic dean, and as a senior administrator for information technology,” said Kathryn T. Spoehr, executive vice president and provost, to whom Balestri will report. “She understands both the academic and administrative realms of information technology, and I am delighted that she will be joining us here at Brown.”

Balestri will oversee Computing and Information Services (CIS), one of the University’s larger administrative departments. With a budget of more than $11 million and nearly 150 staff members, CIS supports a broad range of information technology for the University, from pagers and cellular telephones to voice mail, videoconferencing, satellite services, e-mail and Web servers, administrative computing systems, network services, equipment repair, public computing clusters, training, consulting, and academic and research support.

As Brown’s chief information officer and a member of the senior administration, Balestri will lead a long-term planning process for information technology, including the development and implementation of strategies for capital investment and continuing budgetary support.

“As an early innovator in academic computing, Brown understood and embraced the scholarly and administrative potential of information technology,” Spoehr said. “We are now at a point where students must have technology thoroughly integrated into their educational experiences as they prepare for lives in the information age. I believe Diane will help the University develop the informational and technological resources it will need to support its mission and its unique academic strengths.”

Diane Pelkus Balestri

A graduate of Wellesley College (A.B., Phi Beta Kappa, 1965), Balestri earned a Ph.D. in English literature at Yale University in 1970. She served as assistant professor of English at Southern Connecticut State College and Connecticut College, moving to Albertus Magnus College in 1971.

In 1975 she began a 10-year association with Bryn Mawr College, where she served as assistant and associate dean while continuing to teach English as a part-time lecturer. She served as academic class dean for undergraduates, chaired an ad hoc committee to review the undergraduate curriculum, and served as co-director of the Summer Institute for Women in Higher Education Administration.

Balestri moved to Princeton University in 1985 as assistant dean of the college. Her responsibilities included continuing education, implementation of the Princeton Writing Program, and service on university disciplinary committees. She was also co-coordinator of Project Pegasus, which introduced microcomputing to the Princeton curriculum.

In 1992 she began full-time work in information technology, becoming manager of instructional and media services. Among other responsibilities, she managed resources for new media, interactive computer graphics, faculty courseware development projects and campus satellite and cable television programming. She was named associate director in 1995.

In 1997 Balestri accepted an appointment as director of computing and information services at Vassar College. She was responsible for planning, budget and oversight of the technical and desktop computing infrastructure, information and administrative systems, networking and network services, user services and instructional media. She also chaired committees on information technology management and on the use of technology for teaching and learning. Vassar named her vice president for computing and information services in 2000.