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Ryan Piurek
University Communications

Last modified: Friday, July 6, 2007

Karen Hanson named provost, executive vice president for IU Bloomington campus

July 5, 2007

Karen Hanson

Karen Hanson

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University President Michael McRobbie today (July 5) announced that, subject to the approval of the IU Board of Trustees, Karen Hanson, dean of the Hutton Honors College and Rudy Professor of Philosophy, has been named provost and executive vice president.

Hanson was recommended for the position by a search and screen committee that included representatives from all major campus constituencies. She will assume responsibilities previously held by McRobbie, who served as interim provost and vice president for academic affairs from February 2006 until Sunday (July 1), when he became IU's 18th president.

"Karen has served Indiana University Bloomington with distinction for more than 30 years, during which time she has made wide-reaching contributions on a campus renowned for the quality and diversity of its academic and cultural programs," McRobbie said. "Her presence over the years on so many university committees and as part of so many campus initiatives underscores the respect that her colleagues on the faculty have for her scholarly contributions and leadership ability.

"A philosopher by trade, she has the tools necessary to answer the most critical questions facing our university as it enters an era of great change and exciting possibility," McRobbie continued. "I look forward to working closely with her toward attracting and retaining premier faculty, expanding research, enabling our students to realize their maximum potential and further internationalizing the Bloomington campus."

As provost, Hanson will report directly to McRobbie and serve as the chief academic officer of the Bloomington campus. She will oversee academic and budgetary policy and priorities, and facilitate the highest quality faculty and student body by providing leadership in matters related to academic programs and policies, promotion and tenure, faculty recognition, research, university outreach and student recruitment and retention.

A highly esteemed scholar, award-winning teacher and experienced administrator who has served on numerous major committees at IUB, Hanson has been asked by McRobbie to give special focus to several major, ongoing campus initiatives, including strengthening the academic profile of the Bloomington campus, making it more diverse, implementing the general education program, partnering with other institutions of higher learning around the state to ensure appropriate transferability of credits, and keeping higher education affordable and accessible to Hoosier students.

With a distinguished background in the humanities, she also will work closely with McRobbie to enhance IUB's already internationally renowned prowess in the arts and humanities.

"The agenda for the Bloomington campus is full and quite challenging," McRobbie said. "I have every confidence that Karen will bring not only intelligence and energy to these challenges but also a sensitivity to issues like campus diversity, general education and the need to support our traditional strengths in the arts and humanities."

Hanson has taught at IUB since 1976 in the Department of Philosophy, serving as department chair from 1997 to 2002 and Rudy Professor since 2001. She also is an adjunct professor of gender studies, American studies and comparative literature.

In 2002, she was named dean of the Hutton Honors College, which recruits diverse, talented and highly motivated students to IU, and offers a variety of small, challenging courses along with extracurricular activities and service programs. While serving as dean, she worked to enhance the collaboration between the college and other units on campus and increase the endowment for the college's centerpiece program, the International Experiences Program, which offers qualified students an experience of study, service or student teaching abroad.

"I'm honored to have been chosen as provost, and I'm grateful to President McRobbie for giving me the opportunity to serve in this capacity the campus and university that I love," Hanson said. "It is a challenging and exciting time for higher education in general and for Indiana University in particular, and I'm eager to contribute what I can as we build on our past successes and pave a new future."

Fred Cate, distinguished professor at the IU School of Law-Bloomington and co-chair of the Alliance of Distinguished and Titled Professors, served as chair of the search committee.

"The committee was greatly impressed by the range of Dean Hanson's experience in the university and the academy more broadly, by her demonstrated commitment to fostering the highest quality undergraduate and graduation education and the rich diversity of the Bloomington campus community, by her integrity and by her deep understanding of not only the challenges but also the opportunities ahead," Cate said.

Hanson's principal research interests are in philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, 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 served on the Executive Committee of the Central Division of the American Philosophical Association, as chair of the Board of Officers of the APA, and APA delegate to the American Council of Learned Societies. She also has been an associate editor of Journal of Social Philosophy, a member of the editorial board of American Philosophical Quarterly and a trustee for the American Society for Aesthetics.

She has obtained numerous grants as well as many campus and all-university teaching awards. She was a member of the selection committee for the highly prestigious MacArthur Prize Fellowships, and presently sits on the board of the Dewey Foundation and on both the advisory and editorial boards of the Peirce Edition Project.

Hanson received a B.A. degree in philosophy and mathematics, summa cum laude, from the University of Minnesota in 1970 and Ph.D. and A.M. degrees in philosophy from Harvard in 1980.