The News Service
Fennell to step down as dean of faculty, will serve through 2003-04
Mary L. Fennell, dean of the faculty at Brown University, has announced plans to return to regular faculty life at the end of the 2003-04 academic year, as professor of sociology and community health.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Mary L. Fennell, dean of the faculty at Brown University since June 1, 2000, has announced plans to serve through the 2003-04 academic year and then to return to regular faculty life as professor of sociology and community health.
“Mary has been a stalwart supporter for increased resources and benefits for the faculty,” said Brown President Ruth J. Simmons. “Her leadership and dedication have made a significant difference.”
As dean of the faculty, Fennell helped academic departments and other academic units review their programs of instruction and research in preparation for the University’s increased investment in faculty resources. Through the Initiatives for Academic Enrichment, approved by the Corporation in February 2002, Brown will increase the size of its faculty by more than 20 percent.
“Mary has served the faculty and the University ... with a steadiness and commitment to excellence that will have a lasting impact,” said Brown Provost Robert J. Zimmer in a message to the faculty. “I have particularly appreciated in the past year her extraordinary work in helping recruit new faculty to campus, an effort that will help shape Brown's future. We are very pleased that Mary will continue to serve as dean for the coming academic year and that we will have the benefit of her leadership.”
A summa cum laude graduate of the University of Santa Clara, Fennell earned her M.A. and Ph.D in sociology at Stanford University. She began her academic career in the Department of Sociology at the University of Illinois–Chicago in 1978 and became an associate professor with a joint appointment in the School of Public Health in 1984. In 1987 she joined The Pennsylvania State University as associate professor of sociology and senior research associate in the Institute for Policy Research and Evaluation, rising to the rank of professor in 1989. She joined the Brown faculty in 1995 as professor of sociology and community health.
Fennell has studied the leadership and governance of medical organizations and, at the time she was appointed dean, was focusing her research on the provision of health care to older populations. She has maintained that research interest during her tenure as dean, with continued support from the National Institutes of Health, and coauthored a book, Professional Work (Blackwell Publishers, 2001).
“I am profoundly grateful for the opportunities I have been given to work with President Simmons and Provost Zimmer; I have learned enormously from their leadership and example,” Fennell said in a message to the Brown faculty. “But most of all, I am grateful for the opportunity I have had to work with all of you, and perhaps in some small way to have helped in the enrichment of Brown University and in the enhancement of a remarkable faculty.”