Chatham News

Chatham University Promotes Long-Serving Professor to Dean of Undergraduate Innovation

PITTSBURGH: Chatham University announced today the promotion of Dr. Bill Lenz (with Chatham since 1980) to the newly created position of Dean of Undergraduate Innovation and Special Assistant to the President.

In the newly created Dean of Undergraduate Innovation and Special Assistant to the President role, Dr. Lenz will work with all constituencies of the institution to review current institutional practices and curriculum at the undergraduate level to determine ways in which Chatham can best serve students and society in a world in which “disruptive change” has become the norm in higher education. He will play a key leadership role in Chatham’s efforts to review programs and undergraduate offerings (curricular and co-curricular) in the context of potential adaptations to better address contemporary concerns about student work force preparedness, the ability for students to truly engage in life long learning, the cost of higher education, and other relevant topics.

“I have been at Chatham since 1980, and the one constant has been innovation and change,” said Dr. Lenz. “I am very pleased to have been asked by President Barazzone to take a new leadership role that will enable Chatham to look directly at the meaning and value of undergraduate student experience, with all its component parts, in the developing University structure. It is an exciting time to think through what constitutes a meaningful undergraduate education.”

Dr. William (Bill) Lenz has taught at Chatham for 34 years and has held since 2006 an endowed faculty chair, the Pontious Professor of English, given by Chatham alumna, Dorothy Pontious. He also serves as the Chair of the Humanities and the Director of the Chatham Scholars program. A member of the English Department since 1980, Dr. Lenz has taught writing, critical thinking, and literary analysis at virtually every level of the institution. As a long-serving member of the faculty, he is a beloved teacher and leader in many of the initiatives Chatham has undertaken through the years in regards to curriculum and co-curricular program innovation. He has traveled on Chatham Abroad with students to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, Belize and Guatemala, and to Hopital Albert Schweitzer for service learning in Haiti. Dr. Lenz is the author of numerous papers and articles on American literature and culture. He is also the author of three books: Ruins, Revolution, and Manifest Destiny: John Lloyd Stephens Creates the Maya.Peter Lang Publishing, 2013; The Poetics of the Antarctic: A Study in Nineteenth Century American Cultural Perceptions. Garland, 1995; Fast Talk and Flush Times: The Confidence Man As A Literary Convention.University of Missouri Press, 1985. He earned his B.A. from Amherst College and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia.

“Dr. Lenz is the perfect person to lead institutional self-examination and constructive change in undergraduate education for the future. His high academic standards and generous student orientation and effectiveness, the respect in which his colleagues hold him, as well as his history of leadership for constructive change at Chatham, are among the many reasons he will excel in his new role,” states Chatham President Esther Barazzone.

About Chatham University
Chatham University in Pittsburgh, Pa., has a long history of commitment to global understanding, women’s leadership and the environment. Chatham is the alma mater of environmental icon, Rachel Carson, and is recognized today as a leader in the field of sustainability, having been selected for The Princeton Review’s Green College Guide listing four years in a row, named to Sierra Club magazine’s list of top 25 “cool schools” and mentioned in a 2012 Forbes article as one of the places “contributing to Pittsburgh’s transformation into a destination for green living.”

Building on these accomplishments, Chatham opens in 2014 the world’s first fully sustainable campus in higher education, Eden Hall Campus, with completion of the first stage of construction on its 20-year master plan. Rising 19 spots over the past four years in the US News & World Reports Best Colleges rankings, Chatham works to prepare its 2,000+ undergraduate and graduate students in the fields of sustainability, health sciences, business and communication, and the arts and sciences.