Kim Borkowski

Equinox Staff


After nine years of being the Dean of Arts and Humanities here at Keene State College, Nona Fienberg decided to step down from the position and return to her passion of teaching.

Fienberg became dean of arts and humanities in 2003 and will finish at the end of this spring semester.

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Nona Fienberg said her time as dean has been wonderful, but she’s ready to return to her passion full time.

“You come into a new job, hopeful of taking on new challenges.  I was eager for the challenges of being dean.  However, I knew there would be a time,” Fienberg said.

Fienberg received her Ph.D. in English from the University of California at Berkeley in 1978.

While in college, Fienberg focused her studies on Shakespeare, the Renaissance, and women in literature.

Fienberg said she began teaching after graduating, up until she became dean here at KSC.

As Dean of Arts and Humanities, Nona Fienberg has accomplished many projects that can be seen around campus.

Fienberg explained after the current dining commons was built she worked with a team in designing the renovations for the current Media Arts Center.

Fienberg said journalism, graphic design, and film students were taking classes all over campus, and the department wanted to give these majors their own space.

Fienberg called the gutting and renovating of the current Media Arts Center “Phase 1” in the steps toward building a brand new center.

She explained the renovations were completed in a year’s work, and as soon as it was done they began designing the Visual and Media Arts Center.

The Visual and Media Arts Center, Fienberg said, will house art, graphic design, journalism, philosophy, and film majors.  Fienberg said they are currently waiting for the funding before they can go forward with the project.

While dean, Fienberg also worked with teams in creating several academic programs on the Keene campus.

Fienberg said she participated on the teams that constructed the Holocaust minor, Integrative Studies Program, and the Honors Program.

Fienberg explained how she felt when working towards creating the Honors Program, saying, “It was important to me.  I wanted really good students to feel their work was honored and supported by other students and faculty and staff.  I wanted the program to show that people care about their work.”

While being dean of arts and humanities, Fienberg said she continued to teach one class every spring semester: Literature of the Holocaust.

“It was one class that I just couldn’t give up,” Fienberg explained. KSC sophomore, Katie Boivin, said she loved taking Literature of the Holocaust with Fienberg as her professor.

Boivin stated, “The Holocaust is a hard subject to teach because it is such an emotional topic, but I felt that [Fienberg] made it as relatable as possible, and helped us to work our way through each book step by step.”

Boivin added that the class with Fienberg inspired her to choose English as her second major.

Another student in Literature of the Holocaust, Brittney Fields, a senior, said Fienberg is a wonderful teacher.

Fields explained, “She always had such great depth and insight.  You can tell she’s very passionate and that in turn makes you want to try harder as her student.”

Fienberg said that looking back on the years she was dean, she thoroughly enjoyed working with various teams on campus.

“The best part was working with different teams that included chairs and directors.  While on those teams we hired an amazing array of talented, committed faculty and staff,” Fienberg explained.

After her term as dean is over, Fienberg said she will join the Holocaust and genocide studies department and will be teaching full time in the fall of 2013.

Until then, Fienberg said she will be on sabbatical, doing research in Literature of the Holocaust in the fall of 2012.

Fienberg also explained she will be working on assorted projects for the college in the spring of 2013.

The new dean of arts and humanities will begin his or her term this fall.

The Provost of Academic Affairs, Emile Netzhammer, explained the search committee is well into the process in choosing the next Dean.

Netzhammer explained, “Over the next month, three candidates will visit the campus and they will have two days of interviews.  The candidates will get to meet with me along with other faculty and students.”

In addition, Netzhammer said the committee will likely make their decision in mid-March on who the next Dean of Arts and Humanities will be.

Netzhammer added, “As dean, [Nona Fienberg] has been a great advocate for faculty and students in arts and humanities.”

In reference to being dean and making her decision to return to teaching, Fienberg concluded, “I am going to miss it; I’ve worked hard, but I’m very fortunate to have choices and I made that choice.”


Kim Borkowski can be contacted at


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