John P. Harrington, Ph.D., has worked to develop new graduate and undergraduate degree programs at Rensselaer.
Photo courtesy of Rensselaer/Kris Qua

John P. Harrington, Ph.D., has been named dean of the faculty of arts and sciences at Fordham.

The appointment of Harrington, currently dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences and professor of humanities at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., was announced by Stephen Freedman, Ph.D., senior vice president/chief academic officer at Fordham.

“Scholarship, academic leadership and research experience are the three key qualities we were looking for in a new dean of faculty of arts and sciences,” Freedman said. “Dr. Harrington is abundantly qualified in those areas, and is a excellent choice to help nurture faculty as Fordham comes into its own as a top-tier university.”

Harrington, whose appointment is effective July 1, began his academic career in 1985 as assistant professor of English and director of composition at St. Peter’s College in Jersey City. He was professor of humanities at the Cooper Union, where he served as the founding director of the Center for Writing and Speaking, founder and director of the Humanities Gallery, director of the Cooper Union Library, chair of Academic Council, and dean of the faculty of humanities and social sciences from 1992 to 2002.

Harrington is the author of The Life of the Neighborhood Playhouse on Grand Street (Syracuse University Press, 2008), which was nominated for the American Theatre Book of the Year by the Theatre Historical Society of America.

He has edited several volumes on Irish theatre, and co-edited The Future of Irish Studies: Report from the Irish Forum Florence 2005 (Prague: Center for Irish Studies, Charles University, 2006) andPolitics and Performance in Contemporary Northern Ireland (University of Massachusetts Press, 1999). He has also published numerous scholarly essays and reviews and has given many presentations and invited lectures.

“The chance to join Fordham is a fantastic opportunity for me,” Harrington said. “My New York history and also my family history have always made me very aware of Fordham’s great faculty and academic strengths. I think Fordham is extraordinarily well-poised to achieve the very ambitious goals so well articulated in the ‘Toward 2016’ strategic plan. It is a privilege to be invited to join the effort to complete that plan.”

Since 2002, Harrington has worked to develop new graduate and undergraduate degree programs with the deans and faculty at Rensselaer, where the number of humanities and social science degrees granted tripled between 2000 and 2008. Rensselaer increased admitted students 20 percent per year from 2002 to 2006, and increased and diversified the undergraduate population and portfolio of majors during his tenure there.

“It is no secret that change is coming to academia, and with that change comes the opportunity for growth and renewal,” said Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham. “Therefore it is fitting that we appoint as dean of the arts and sciences faculty someone who is adept at managing change, and whose scholarly and leadership experience give him the skills to help guide our faculty and our University into a position of preeminence.”