Associate Dean of Arts and Humanities Sara Hottinger has taken up the position of Interim Dean of Arts and Humanities for one year starting on July 1.
Hottinger has worked in the Dean’s Office for over two years, first as Assistant Dean and then Associate Dean of Arts and Humanities.
When current Dean of Arts and Humanities Andrew Harris announced his departure from Keene State College this year, Hottinger became a potential candidate as Interim Dean.
“When I announced that I was leaving at the end of this year, the Provost met with all the department chairs in the School of Arts and Humanities and had a pretty wide-ranging conversation about the future leadership of the school. We found a very high-level of support and enthusiasm for her being appointed interim,” Harris said.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Walter Zakahi declined to comment.
According to Harris, it was Hottinger’s hard work in the Dean’s Office and her contribution to the success of the School of Arts and Humanities that got her the support.
Hottinger explained what her current duties are as Associate Dean of Arts and Humanities.
“As Associate Dean, I work a lot with the department chairs to coordinate the scheduling. I look at all the department schedules and the the schedule of all the courses offered through Arts and Humanities and work to coordinate that. Make sure we’re offering what we need for our students that we have enough, like IA seats enough IH seats, that departments are offering what they need so students can complete their majors. That’s a good portion of my work,” Hottinger said.
Hottinger mentioned that she also works closely with Harris and department chairs on the budget for the School of Arts and Humanities. She works with students through the academic honesty policy process, faculty on curriculum development and new curriculum.
Hottinger spoke of her new book that was published by SUNY Press this month: Inventing the Mathematician: Gender, Race and Our Cultural Understanding of Mathematics. The book looks at the way culture thinks about mathematics and mathematicians, and explores why so many women and students of color don’t stay within this field.
According to Hottinger, she received her PhD from the University of Minnesota in Feminist Studies in 2005.
“As I was finishing up my dissertation, I was also applying for jobs in Women’s and Gender studies in general,” Hottinger said.
Hottinger said that KSC offered her an interview and that she loved the campus.
“What was nice about the faculty position here at Keene State is that it was a split between Women’s and Gender studies and philosophy and my area of research is in the history and philosophy of mathematics and science,” Hottinger said.
According to the KSC website, Hottinger is an interdisciplinary scholar, whose research interests include feminist epistemology, cultural studies of science, and the history and philosophy of mathematics.
Hottinger pointed out her experiences teaching at KSC when she was first hired.
“I was able to teach some courses in the philosophy department when I came here in 2005 and in Women’s and Gender studies,” Hottinger said.
Hottinger continued, “I came here as a faculty member and in about 2009, I was asked to coordinate what was then the Women’s Studies program. We offered a Women’s Studies minor and during my time as the coordinator of Women’s Studies, I worked with a wonderful group of feminist faculty from across the school and we proposed a Woman’s and Gender Studies major and we also proposed to move the Women’s Studies program into a department,” Hottinger said.
The Women’s Studies program became a department in 2011, and offers Women’s and Gender Studies major and minor, according to Hottinger.
Hottinger expressed how her love for administration work made her seek new opportunities to work beyond chairing the department of Women’s and Gender Studies.
“When the opportunity came up in 2014 to apply for what was at the time an assistant Dean Position here in Arts and Humanities. I put my application in, I interviewed with Dean Harris and he hired me and I’ve been fortunate to work here in the Dean’s office for the past two years, first as the Assistant Dean and then the Associate Dean,” Hottinger said.
Harris mentioned why he believes Hottinger is a good fit for Interim Dean.
“I think she will be much better than me. What I think is great about next year, and I thought about this a lot, I think the challenge in appointing an Interim Dean is that you get a placeholder. You get someone who will make sure, if you’re not careful, you will get someone who is only a placeholder. Who will just make sure that the minimum work gets done and Sara is not going to be that Interim Dean,” Harris said.
Chair of the English Department Kirsti Sandy pointed out what qualities Hottinger possesses that will make her a good Interim Dean.
“She is very good at big-picture thinking. She will come up with good ideas and she is also very practical. She has that perfect combination of being able to kind of see the big picture and really understand how things work. She has good ideas, she’s creative, but she also has an eye for detail,” Sandy said.
Hottinger said that after her Interim Dean position is over, she plans to stay with KSC and continue to support faculty and students through administration and possibly go back to the classroom and pursue teaching again.
Jacob Knehr can be contacted at email@example.com