New Dean of Humanities and Sciences Named

By Dan Verderosa, March 25, 2019
Melanie Stein will begin her tenure at Ithaca College in July.

Mathematics scholar and experienced administrator Melanie Stein has been named the new dean of Ithaca College’s School of Humanities and Sciences. Since 2016, Stein has served as dean of academic affairs at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. She will begin her new position at IC on July 1.

Stein has been a faculty member in the Department of Mathematics at Trinity since 1995. She is an expert in geometric group theory, studying groups through their actions on topological metric spaces.

“I am honored and delighted to have been selected as the next dean of humanities and sciences,” said Stein. “I have been tremendously impressed by the warmth and dedication of the IC faculty, staff and administration to providing a high-quality educational experience for students. I am so looking forward to joining the IC community.”

As an administrator and faculty member at Trinity College, Stein has demonstrated a commitment to consultative decision-making and making sure all voices are heard. Through her academic leadership, she has helped to advance Trinity towards its strategic goals in the areas of faculty recruitment, retention, development and success; academic strategy and planning; and student success.

“We are delighted to welcome Melanie Stein as the next dean of humanities and sciences at Ithaca College,” said La Jerne Terry Cornish, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at IC. “During the search process, Melanie proved herself to be a reflective listener, a thoughtful leader, and someone who can readily articulate the value of the liberal arts without hesitation or deflection. The School of Humanities and Sciences has been longing for a champion and they have found one in Melanie Stein.”

In addition to dean of academic affairs at Trinity College, Stein has also served as interim dean of faculty and as an associate academic dean. She is a former chair of the math department. Prior to joining Trinity, Stein taught for three years at the Ohio State University. She was the recipient of an Alfred P. Sloan Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship as well as a NATO-NSF postdoctoral fellowship, during which she spent a year at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universitat in Frankfurt, Germany.

She is a leading expert in the study of Thompson’s groups. Her work generalizing Morgan-Shalen theory to essential laminations has led to groundbreaking results on the (non)existence of foliations in 3-manifolds.

Born and raised in Ithaca, Stein received an A.B. in mathematics from Harvard College and an M.S. and Ph.D. in mathematics from Cornell University. “I feel so fortunate to have found such an exciting professional opportunity that also brings me back to Ithaca, my beloved hometown,” she said.

Stein succeeds Vincent Wei-Cheng Wang, who stepped down as dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences in July 2018. Professor Michael Richardson has been serving as the school’s interim dean.