Following a nationwide search, Hobart and William Smith Colleges have announced the appointment of Dr. Mary L. Coffey as Provost and Dean of Faculty. Coffey currently serves as the Senior Associate Dean at Pomona College in Claremont, Calif., in the Office of the Dean of the College and Vice President for Academic Affairs, the equivalent of HWS’ Office of Academic and Faculty Affairs. A tenured member of the faculty in Pomona’s Department of Romance Languages and Literature, Coffey is recognized for her expertise on 19th and early-20th century Spanish literature and culture.
“I am thrilled that Professor Coffey will be joining Hobart and William Smith Colleges,” says President Joyce P. Jacobsen. “She is an exceptionally talented scholar and teacher who has dedicated the better part of the last decade excelling in complex administrative roles on a liberal arts campus, serving the faculty at Pomona with distinction and success. I am especially grateful to the search committee that managed this process and to DeWayne Lucas, whose leadership of the Colleges as Interim Provost and Dean of Faculty is greatly appreciated.”
Coffey served as chair of Pomona’s Department of Romance Languages and Literatures two times, first from 2007-2010 and again in 2013. She directed the Pacific Basin Institute from 2017-18 and chaired Pomona’s Department of Anthropology from 2018-19. She joined Pomona’s academic leadership team in 2016, serving as Associate Dean, Senior Associate Dean, and, in the summer of 2019, Acting Vice President. She has helped manage a substantial budget in support of Pomona’s academic mission, working with staff and faculty in sponsored research, the registrar’s office, institutional research, the Writing Center, the Museum of Art and study abroad. She has served on committees addressing diversity, equity and inclusion, academic advising, new student orientation, and ADA accessibility. She has extensive experience in faculty development and curriculum assessment and served as the Accreditation Liaison Officer to Pomona’s institutional accrediting commission. An elected member of Pomona’s Faculty Personnel Committee for promotion and tenure and the Faculty Position Advisory Committee, she was also elected as division chair representing the arts and humanities to the Faculty Executive Committee. She has spearheaded efforts to advance and rebuild Pomona’s Oldenborg Center for International Relations and Modern Languages, which has resulted in a strengthening of its role as a unique living and learning community and an institutional commitment to the development of a new epicenter for interdisciplinary global engagement on campus.
For the Claremont Colleges Consortium, of which Pomona is a member, Coffey has been an advisory board member for the Center for Teaching and Learning, a member of the steering committee for digital humanities, lead associate dean for the Professional Development Network Grants, and lead associate dean for the Claremont Colleges New Faculty Workshop.
Coffey received her bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago, her master’s degree in comparative literature from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Northwestern University. She is the author of two books: Imagined Truths: Realism in Modern Spanish Literature and Culture co-edited with Margot Versteeg (University of Toronto Press, Iberic series, June 2019) and Ghosts of Colonies Past and Present: Spanish Imperialism in the Fiction of Benito Pérez Galdós (Liverpool University Press, expected in spring 2020). She has written extensively on the realist fiction of Pérez Galdós, presenting her work at conferences and invited lectures around the world. She is the recipient of a number of national and international fellowships and grants including from the National Endowment for the Humanities as well as a Fulbright-Hayes Research Fellowship.
Coffey begins her duties at Hobart and William Smith on January 15, 2020. Her husband, Robert Pavich, a middle school teacher of mathematics at the Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles, Calif., will join Coffey in Geneva at the conclusion of the school’s 2019-20 academic year.
Following a brief sabbatical, Lucas will return to the Political Science Department.