Emory Report
January 17, 2006
Volume 58, Number 15


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January 17, 2006
UM's Tedesco to become graduate dean in May

BY michael terrazas

Lisa Tedesco, former vice president and secretary at the University of Michigan, will become Emory's next dean of the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, effective May 1. Tedesco currently is serving as a visiting fellow at Columbia University's Center for Community Health Partnerships.

"Lisa is someone with an extraordinary breadth of administrative experience: She's been the academic dean of a school, secretary of one of the major research universities in the country, and interim provost," said Provost Earl Lewis. "She is equipped to help us think very hard about graduate education and a number of issues Emory will address in the near future."

As Lewis mentioned, Tedesco has served Michigan in a number of capacities since becoming associate dean of its dental school in 1992. She was named university secretary in 1998, and in 2001 also served as interim provost. During her dental school tenure, the school implemented a doctoral program and instituted significant changes in curriculum, pedagogy and interdisciplinary research.

In addition to her deanship, Tedesco will hold faculty appointments as a professor in the Rollins School of Public Health and in Emory College's Division of Educational Studies. She also will carry the title of vice provost for academic affairs-graduate studies.

"Emory stands at the top in higher education and is poised to contribute in unique and innovative ways--it's a very exciting time," Tedesco said of her soon-to-be new home. "The ideas and plans for the future represented in the strategic plan are of a grand scale and are exactly those that will advance discovery, provide solutions for challenging problems, and educate citizens to contribute to the public good in new, different and contemporary ways."

One aspect of Tedesco's career that Lewis said will help her at Emory is the fact that, for much of it, she has straddled the worlds of social and health sciences; a 1972 graduate of the University of Bridgeport (Connecticut), she earned a master's in education from SUNY-Buffalo in 1975 and then a Ph.D. in educational psychology from Buffalo in 1981. She then joined the university's School of Dental Medicine faculty, where she worked for 11 years before moving in Ann Arbor in 1992.

"That 'multilingual' nature will serve her well because a graduate school dean cuts across the entire institution," Lewis said. "The combination of broad administrative experience and her academic standpoint led me to conclude she was the right person to lead this graduate school at this point in its history."

"Graduate schools, structurally and intellectually, represent the breadth of the research university," Tedesco said. "They span the disciplines and have the unique responsibility of providing the stage on which interdisciplinary work can take on creative, innovative--and even risky--ideas."

Tedesco is the author of 71 peer-reviewed articles, one book, two monographs and 12 book chapters. She is former president of the American Association of Dental Schools and is widely known as a social science health educator concerned with health disparities, curriculum reform and diversity in the health care workforce. Regarding the last issue, she served on an Institute of Medicine committee addressing workforce diversity and is a member of the Sullivan Alliance to Transform America's Health Professions.

Finally, Tedesco also has worked in the past with Lewis, who served as graduate dean at Michigan before coming to Emory.

"In addition to Lisa's broad academic experience, intellectual breadth and administrative skills, she is a delightful colleague, which I know from experience," Lewis said. " I think others will find her imaginative, cooperative and effective--keys elements of successful leadership."

"We're excited that Lisa Tedesco comes to us from a place that has such a strong, effective graduate school model," Wagner said. "She has administrative experience at the highest levels of a university as well as academic experience, and it's an advantage that she and our provost have worked together in the past. Those are factors that will help her be a real leader in moving our graduate school forward."

Tedesco's arrival will give the graduate school its first permanent dean in five years; current Emory College Dean Bobby Paul served as graduate dean before moving to the college in 2001. Paul was succeeded by two interim deans, Gary Wihl (2001-03) and Bryan Noe, who has helmed the school since June 2003.