New Deans Join the Institute This Fall
New hires bring experience, knowledge, and expertise
Over the summer, Rensselaer announced the hiring of Mary Simoni as the dean for the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences and Laurie Leshin as dean of the School of Science. They join Thomas Begley, dean of the Lally School of Management and Technology, who was announced in May. Together, the trio brings a wealth of experience, knowledge, and interests to the campus this fall.
She became the deputy associate administrator for exploration systems at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C., in 2010. The Exploration System Mission Directorate is responsible for future NASA human spaceflight activities. This includes the development of commercial capabilities for low Earth orbit transport and new technologies to ferry humans to destinations deeper in the universe, such as asteroids and Mars. Her work involved daily oversight and planning for the implementation of the largest proposed shift in human spaceflight activities since the end of the Apollo program.
“We are excited to welcome a new generation of academic leaders to Rensselaer,” said President Shirley Ann Jackson. “Their arrival comes at a propitious time for our university, as we look to evolve our plans, allocate resources, and implement our strategies for the next 10 years under The Rensselaer Plan. Each of these new deans brings a strong track record of leadership, scholarship, and accomplishment which, combined with the strengths of our existing deans, creates a powerful leadership team for Rensselaer.”
Mary Simoni, associate dean for research and community engagement, and tenured full professor in the School of Music, Theatre and Dance at the University of Michigan, has been appointed dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. She will join Rensselaer on Oct. 1. Simoni served as associate dean of the UM School of Music, Theatre and Dance for the past seven years, having joined the school as director of the Center for Performing Arts and Technology in 1994.
As associate dean, Simoni developed research opportunities and strategic planning processes for the school, developed and directed electronic publications, and launched and directed the University of Michigan record label, Block M Records, to promote the University of Michigan through Web-based publication of media-rich scholarly and creative research.
Laurie Leshin, deputy associate administrator of exploration systems for NASA, has been appointed dean of the School of Science. Leshin brings experience as a leader, educator, researcher, and administrator to leadership of the school. She will join Rensselaer on Oct. 1.
Leshin joined NASA in 2005 as director of science and exploration at the Goddard Space Flight Center. As head of the largest science
organization within NASA, she was responsible for the strategic management and organization of 550 scholars and support staff in fields ranging from high-energy astrophysics to climate change.
Thomas Begley, dean of the Business School at University College Dublin (UCD), has been
appointed dean of the Lally School of Management and Technology. Begley served as dean of the UCD Business School for more than five years, having joined the school as chair of organizational behavior in 2004. When he was appointed dean of the Business School in 2005, his mandate was to increase research productivity of the faculty in the business school and to develop an executive education program. He built partnerships with companies, raised external funding, and strengthened the international focus of the school. Begley joined Rensselaer on July 1.