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Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences

About Outgoing Dean Karin Ruhlandt

Karin Ruhlandt portrait.

Karin Ruhlandt is dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and a distinguished professor of chemistry. Named dean in 2015, she is the seventeenth person appointed to the position since the College’s inception in 1871. She has been part of the University community since 1991, when she was appointed assistant professor of chemistry.

As the head of the College, Dean Ruhlandt is responsible for the efficient and innovative operation of 16 academic departments within Syracuse University’s oldest and largest academic unit.

Among Dean Ruhlandt’s achievements, some of the most notable include:

  • increased funding for undergraduate research and the reorganization of how funds are distributed to ensure equity across all disciplines;
  • the reorganization of the Syracuse University Humanities Center to enhance programming and support faculty scholarship;
  • collaborative relationships with leaders of the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and the School of Education to develop a number of new interdisciplinary programs;
  • the development of a unique student advising paradigm that connects academic and career advising to optimize student retention and career preparedness; and,
  • launching an ambitious communications strategy that improved editorial coverage of faculty, student and alumni accomplishments.

Dean Ruhlandt is especially proud of her work to improve opportunities for traditionally underrepresented students and faculty, particularly through programs that include SUSTAIN, ACS-SEED, ADVANCE, WISE and others.

At the heart of her efforts is a deep commitment to providing an excellent student experience that prepares graduates to be lifetime explorers—people who are professionally and personally adaptable, ethical and compassionate, and fearless in their pursuits. A former Fulbright Fellow, recipient of the Chancellor’s Citation of Excellence, and a native of Germany, Dean Ruhlandt is a passionate advocate for experiential learning, including study abroad and research across the disciplines. She is also unflagging in her belief that the best education is one that blends and balances the humanities, sciences, and mathematics. Says Dean Ruhlandt, “Only when one has a strong ethical and intellectual foundation born of the liberal arts can one truly think freely, act ethically and live decisively.”

In May 2022, Dean Ruhlandt announced plans to step down in summer 2022 and return to the chemistry faculty following research leave. A national search to identify her successor is being initiated. Professor Lois Agnew, associate dean of curriculum, innovation and pedagogy in the College of Arts and Sciences, will serve as interim dean.

“I’m so proud to have helped shape the heart and soul of Syracuse University through the liberal arts student experience,” says Dean Ruhlandt. “The College unites us all–scientists and researchers, writers and artists, humanists and intellectuals—A&S is our intellectual home.”