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Last modified: Friday, September 1, 2006

Bennett I. Bertenthal appointed dean of IU's College of Arts and Sciences

Sept. 1, 2006

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University President Adam W. Herbert announced today (Sept. 1) that Bennett I. Bertenthal, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Chicago, has been chosen to fill the position of dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the Bloomington campus.

Bertenthal image

Bennett I. Bertenthal

Subject to confirmation by the IU Board of Trustees at their Sept. 22 business meeting, Bertenthal will begin his new duties on Jan. 1. Bertenthal, one of three finalists recommended by a 10-member search committee, will fill the post vacated last spring when Kumble Subbaswamy left IU to become provost of the University of Kentucky.

In making the announcement, Herbert said, "Dr. Bertenthal brings a very impressive record of academic and leadership achievement to Indiana University. He is a nationally recognized scholar in the field of cognitive neuroscience. His academic credentials include more than 100 articles in prestigious scientific publications. His leadership record at the University of Chicago and the National Science Foundation demonstrates that he is a very effective and innovative academic administrator.

"His impressive experience in fostering faculty collaboration and leading multi-disciplinary research initiatives will be especially valuable as we expand the IU research enterprise," Herbert continued. "I am very pleased that a scholar and academic administrator with such a strong commitment to excellence will lead the largest and most comprehensive academic unit on the Bloomington campus."

Bertenthal will report to Michael A. McRobbie, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs at Bloomington.

"Bennett has extensive experience in leading multidisciplinary research efforts that bridge the natural and social sciences," McRobbie said. "This experience has given him the intellectual breadth needed to serve as a strong leader and mentor of the College's extensive research efforts. As well, he has a keen appreciation and sensitivity for arts and humanities scholarship, one of our strengths on the Bloomington campus."

Bertenthal is a professor of psychology and computational neuroscience at the University of Chicago, where he has been a faculty member for almost six years. His research focuses on perceptual, motor and cognitive development of the brain.

From 1996 through 1999, he was assistant director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) with responsibility for social, behavioral and economic sciences, science statistics and international programs. He oversaw a staff of 145 employees, of whom more than 70 were Ph.D.'s, and a budget of $150 million.

As part of his responsibilities, Bertenthal worked with Congress and the Office of Management and Budget to appropriate funding for social and behavioral sciences research projects throughout the nation. He also was responsible for promoting NSF initiatives in globalization of science and international programs.

He began his academic career as a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia, where he also directed the Developmental Psychology Training Program, an interdisciplinary program involving over 40 graduate students and 25 faculty including neuroscientists, electrical engineers, computer scientists, biomechanists and pediatric orthopedists. The program, partly funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, was consistently ranked as one of the top three in the U.S.

Bertenthal, 57, earned a B.A. in psychology from Brandeis University in 1971, an M.A. in developmental psychology from the University of Denver in 1976 and a Ph.D. in developmental psychology from the University of Denver in 1978.

Speaking from his office in Chicago on Friday, Bertenthal said he is honored to be chosen for this position.

"Indiana University has always been known for its dedication to academic excellence, and I believe it is poised to become one of the elite universities of the world," Bertenthal said. "During our visit, my wife and I were especially impressed with the warmth and collegiality of the faculty members who visited with us. That was one of the factors influencing our decision to come to Bloomington. I am very much looking forward to joining the university and having an opportunity to contribute to its greatness and development."

Bertenthal and his wife, Meryl, have two grown daughters.