Dean of the College to become professor

Julia Ben-Asher

Photo from lafayette.edu

Former Dean of the College Hannah Stewart-Gambino
Former Dean of the College Hannah Stewart-Gambino

The line between being a faculty member and an administrator is one that is not uncommon for university employees to cross. Hannah Stewart-Gambino, former Dean of the College and future professor, is about to make that transition again.

In 2007, Stewart-Gambino arrived at Lafayette to fill the newly created position of Dean of the College. Under the job description, “administrative responsibility for the student academic experience, broadly defined,” she worked with departments across campus: contributing to the creation of the study abroad office and the IDEAL Center, serving on the advisory board of the Center for Community Engagement, working with the Alumni office and Career Services to increase alumni-return programming, and improving academic support services.

“I’m really proud of the things I got to do,” Stewart-Gambino said. “It’s really important to stay fresh in what you do. It’s time to step back into teaching…kind of rejuvenate.”

“We’ll be sorry to see her go,” President Alison Byerly said of Stewart-Gambino’s departure.

Stewart-Gambino began her career in higher education at Eckhart College in Florida as an associate professor. She continued to Lehigh before becoming part of Lafayette’s administrative body.

She will join Lafayette’s Government & Law and International Affairs departments in a joint appointment, beginning next January. Having done research on religion and politics in Latin America and holding a Masters and Doctorate in political science, Stewart-Gambino will teach classes such as U.S. Foreign Policy in Latin America, Gender and Development, and Comparative Politics. She is also designing a First-Year Seminar linked with an engineering class, exploring the issue of world hunger from various angles.

Much of Stewart-Gambino’s work has involved civil rights, economic empowerment and, generally, “the voiceless.” In a former job as Lehigh University’s Director of Global Citizenship, she led international trips for students, including to Chile and South Africa, to show “the human faces of the winners and losers of globalization.”

“It’s hard to get outside the bubble of privilege,” Stewart-Gambino said, but believes it is absolutely possible. “For students to ask, ‘what can I do?’—If education isn’t about that, then I don’t know what it’s for.”

In the year between stepping down as Dean of the College and beginning teaching, Stewart-Gambino plans to spend time updating and researching subjects for classes she last taught about seven years ago.

Both departments are excited about receiving Stewart-Gambino as an addition to their faculties.

“Her expertise… complements our curriculum and provides the opportunity to expand offerings,” Government & Law Department Head Helena Silverstein said.

Chair of the International Affairs program David Stifel agrees. “I am sure that she will be one of those professors that our students seek out.”

The position that Stewart-Gambino is leaving behind is unfilled, and its future is unclear.

“We’re giving some thought to the administrative structure,” Byerly said. “There’s room to think a little bit about the distribution of duties among the various people in the academic administration.”