Goodbye to Dean Riley…Hello to Interim Dean Shapiro

By Alex Kerravala, Staff Writer

Since Dean Riley, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences left, the college has had an interim dean acting in her place, and the one to take her position was Associate Dean Amy Shapiro.

Shapiro has big shoes to fill, but shows eagerness to fill them to the best of her ability while the search for a new, permanent, dean is underway.

Dean Jeannette Riley had worked on this campus for over 15 years, and early in her career she started the Women’s and Gender Studies Program. After the prior Dean to Riley left, Riley took the position of interim dean and, when the search was inconclusive, Reilly was offered the position of full time dean and decided to take it.

As it turns out, Riley was rather a good Dean. “She was outstanding,” says Interim Dean Amy Shapiro. “I’ve been in academics for thirty years now and she was the best dean I worked under.”

And, as it is with any professional excellent at their job, Dean Riley was sought after from various schools. “She received solicitation after solicitation,” says Shapiro.

Eventually, she received a significant offer from University of Rhode Island and, since Riley lives in Rhode Island, it seemed like a dream position. Riley also believed she had served her purpose on this campus, felt she had solved more than enough problems, and wanted a new challenge that presented itself as URI.

So, in the absence of our last dean, Amy Shapiro stepped up to the challenge and went from Associate Dean to Interim Dean.

Shapiro has been working at Umass D for the past 23 years, starting as a professor in the Psychology Department, and moving to associate dean four years ago, a position she was more than qualified for, with her PhD in Cognitive Psychology as well as a Masters in Psych.

Not to mention her long history at Umass Dartmouth, she felt she would be able to handle the transition from Associate Dean to Interim Dean. “Nothing about [the transition] has been hard, there has just been a lot of it,” says Shapiro. “It’s just a higher quantity of things to handle at once.”

The transition may have been a challenge, but it is one Shapiro has taken with open arms. “If you aren’t comfortable you aren’t being challenged, and if you aren’t being challenged you aren’t improving.”

Despite her thrill of the challenge, Interim Dean Shapiro has no intention of applying for the position of Dean.

The search for the new dean is moving slowly, but it is still moving. Unfortunately the interim dean is not very informed on the subject of her replacement, but she was able to inform me that the Provost, the Union, and other higher-ups within the faculty were in charge of assembling a search committee, and the search is underway.

We are still early in the hiring process of a new dean, but progress is being made.


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