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Campus & Community

Norma Bouchard Appointed Dean of College of Arts and Sciences

March 6, 2019

Norma Bouchard, PhD, is currently the dean of the College of Arts and Letters at San Diego State University, where she is also a professor of European studies. 
Norma Bouchard, PhD, is currently the dean of the College of Arts and Letters at San Diego State University, where she is also a professor of European studies. 

Below is a message from President John Fry and Executive Vice President and Nina Henderson Provost M. Brian Blake:

With its breadth of research, scholarship and diverse majors covering the humanities, social sciences and sciences, the College of Arts and Sciences is a pillar of Drexel University. Given the fast-changing times and increased demands facing the Arts and Sciences, it is important to have a leader who is experienced, collaborative, entrepreneurial and innovative.

After a national search, we are delighted to announce we have found the right leader. Norma Bouchard, PhD, will become the next dean of Drexel University’s College of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Bouchard is currently the dean of the College of Arts and Letters at San Diego State University (SDSU) and a professor of European Studies. She joined SDSU in 2015 after 17 years as professor of Italian and Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of Connecticut-Storrs, where she was promoted through the ranks to professor; head of the department; co-chair of the Graduate Program in Comparative Literatures and Cultural Studies; and associate dean of the Humanities, the Centers and Institutes of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the five regional campuses.

Beyond her leadership and scholarship, Dr. Bouchard brings welcome international experience that is prized in our global and interconnected society. She is a native of Italy who earned a masters in Italian Literature and a doctorate in Comparative Literature from Indiana University-Bloomington. Dr. Bouchard also graduated from the University of Turin in Italy, one of the oldest universities of Europe (est. 1404), where she studied French and German literature. She spent a year as a visiting professor at the University of Puerto Rico, the quintessential Hispanic Serving Institution under the U.S. flag.

As dean of SDSU’s College of Arts and Letters, Dr. Bouchard oversees the university’s largest college with 18 academic departments, 34 majors, 19 graduate programs, 9 interdisciplinary programs and 25 centers and institutes. The college provides instruction to 87,500 undergraduate and graduate students in more than 2,500 classes per academic year and has over 650 faculty members. Under her leadership, freshman to sophomore continuation rate increased to 91.3%, 6-year graduation rate rose to 78% and student participation in Study Abroad was augmented by over 7.5%. Faculty also submitted more grant proposals and received larger and more prestigious awards, including NSF and NIH grants, Fulbright, Mellon, ACLS and Guggenheim fellowships.    

At SDSU, Dr. Bouchard also created a College Advising Center; established an Office of International Programs Coordinator; and bolstered the Development and Marketing and Communication Offices. The college was ranked 15th in public research universities for funding in the humanities, according to the 2018 Higher Education Research and Development Survey, and the College-based undergraduate International Business major was ranked 6th among public universities and 12th among public and private universities by the 2018 US News & World Report.

Dr. Bouchard’s background, understanding, and advocacy for the liberal arts stood out during the interview process. As an experienced dean, her strategic acumen will be important to place growing emphasis on the benefits of a liberal arts education and market-sensitive masters and doctorate programs, while advancing the College’s education and research mission. Dr. Bouchard also has a strong track record in attracting resources as a dean. 

Her collaborative style is well suited for convening Drexel’s community around the next strategic vision of the College, while attracting support from alumni and friends. Dr. Bouchard also brings a deep knowledge of general education in comprehensive institutions, which will benefit us as we look to reinvigorate Drexel’s curriculum for innovative and engaging core courses for all schools and colleges.

Dr. Bouchard inherits a College that greatly expanded its reach in undergraduate and graduate education, as well as civic engagement and study abroad opportunities under former Dean Donna Murasko, who fortunately remains on our faculty after 15 years as dean. For now, the College is in the capable hands of Interim Dean Maria Schultheis, chair of Psychology. We thank Dr. Schultheis for her inspired leadership as interim dean – we all owe her a debt of gratitude for her excellent work. 

We also want to thank Paul E. Jensen, the R. John Chapel, Jr. Dean of LeBow College of Business, for chairing the search, as well as the other search committee members for their excellent work in finding the new dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Bouchard to Drexel.