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Michael Wilkerson

Last modified: Monday, August 5, 2002

Philosophy professor named dean of IU Honors College

Rudy Professor of Philosophy Karen Hanson has been named dean of the Honors College at Indiana University.

"Karen is a great choice for the Honors College dean," said Paul Eisenberg, chair of the Honors College dean search committee and acting chair of the Department of Philosophy. "She is both a fine scholar and a superb teacher, with wide-ranging interests. She is extraordinarily tactful and articulate.

"She has a good sense of who's who at this university; she herself is already very well-known and highly respected. She will bring to her job as dean relevant administrative experience and a fine ability to work well with other people of all types," Eisenberg added. "I think that Karen will do a superb job as dean because of this special combination of talents and abilities."

Charlene Brown, director of extracurricular activities for the Honors College, associate director of the Wells Scholars Program and a member of the dean search committee, concurred. "Karen Hanson brings to the position a distinguished record as a scholar; a terrific record as an effective, much admired and honored teacher; a long record of accomplishment, service and integrity as an administrator and a citizen of Indiana University; a deep appreciation of the role of public universities in this society; a longstanding commitment to honors education; great respect and concern for undergraduates; and an upbeat personality and open manner," Brown said.

Hanson's principal research interests are in philosophy of mind, ethics, aesthetics and American philosophy. She has published many articles and essays in these areas and is the author of The Self Imagined: Philosophical Reflections on the Social Character of Psyche (Routledge Kegan & Paul, 1986) and a co-editor of Romantic Revolutions: Criticism and Theory (Indiana University Press, 1990).

She has twice been elected to the executive committee of the Central Division of the American Philosophical Association, and she currently serves as an elected member of the APA National Board of Officers. From 1993 to 1997, she served as the APA delegate to the American Council of Learned Societies and as a member of the ACLS executive committee. She has been an associate editor of the Journal of Social Philosophy, a member of the editorial board of American Philosophical Quarterly and a trustee for the American Society for Aesthetics.

Her current editorial board memberships include Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews and Cognitio. She is an officer of the board of the John Dewey Foundation and a member of both the advisory and the editorial boards of the Peirce Edition Project. She has won numerous campus and all-university teaching awards, along with a Lilly fellowship and a number of research grants.

Hanson received a B.A. degree, summa cum laude, in philosophy and mathematics from the University of Minnesota in 1970 and Ph.D. and A.M. degrees in philosophy from Harvard University in 1980. A member of the IU Philosophy Department since 1976, she also is an adjunct professor of comparative literature, of American studies and of gender studies. She chaired the Department of Philosophy from 1997 to 2002 and became dean of the Honors College on Aug. 1.

"It's vital for the Honors College to have a leader who is known as an outstanding scholar and teacher," said Charlie Nelms, IU vice president for student development and diversity and IU Bloomington vice chancellor for academic support and diversity. The Honors College is a division of the Office of Academic Support and Diversity.

"Karen Hanson has a truly outstanding record of scholarship and teaching effectiveness," Nelms continued. "Her record of leadership of a key department is also important, and she will bring perspective about the place of an Honors College in a large research university, as well as the ability to forge increased collaboration with other programs on campus."

"I'm very excited about joining the dedicated faculty and staff of the Honors College and having this opportunity to work closely with some of IU's most talented undergraduate students," Hanson said. "The Honors College has a wonderful history and an exciting mission.

"Honors has always provided curricular and extracurricular enrichment for extraordinarily able and exceptionally motivated students; and now, at a time when the entire Bloomington campus is thinking creatively about undergraduate education and how best to recruit and to serve a talented and diverse undergraduate student body, the Honors College can play an especially important role," she said. "A great research university like IU can provide unparalleled educational opportunities for its undergraduates. The Honors College can help IU get out that message and can help Bloomington serve its most outstanding students. I look forward eagerly to active participation in these efforts."