Candidates for dean of CAS emerge

By Morgan Lewis

Starting in 2013, USD will have a new dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. The current dean, Mary Boyd, will be leaving her position after being appointed in 2008. There are three candidates in the running for the position, all with an impressive set of credentials and extensive knowledge in their fields. The decision for the new dean will be made before the end of the school year.

One of the candidates is the department chair of sociology at USD, Michelle Madsen Camacho. Camacho formerly held two postdoctoral fellowships at the Univ. of Calif., San Diego, at the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies and in the Department of Ethnic Studies. Her research uses theories from interdisciplinary sources including cultural studies, critical race, gender and feminist theories. Central to her work are questions of culture, power and inequality. She is affiliated faculty with the Department of Ethnic Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies and Latin American Studies. Madsen is also a recipient of the “2011 Innovation in Experiential Education Award,” which is given to a professor that shows a great amount of commitment student-centered learning. Camacho was rewarded for her work by promoting providing students a deeper understanding of stratification, racism, sexism and heteronormativity.

The second candidate in the running is Noelle Norton. Norton joined the USD faculty in 1994. She is currently serving as an Associate Dean in the College of Arts and Sciences while maintaining her faculty role in the department. She most recently served as chair of the department and formerly served as the USD Honors Program director from 2001-2008.

Norton has done extensive work in political science. She teaches classes on American politics, legislative politics, urban politics and gender politics. Norton’s background and experience prepare her to teach a wide variety of courses ranging from urban politics to gender politics. Prior work for the cities of Grover Beach and San Luis Obispo piqued her interest in state, local, and urban politics, while her research in American government piqued her interest in the U.S. Congress and gender politics. She has taught introductory American Politics and Urban Politics, as well as upper-division courses on Congress, urban politics, parties and interest groups, sex power and politics. Norton has published numerous political journals in topics ranging from policy and legislation, to gender roles in the government.

Norton has recently expanded her work to include international topics. She recently returned from a research trip where she began an exploration into the relative strength of a transnational women’s rights network on legislative bodies such as the US Congress, the European Union and the British Parliament.

Tammy J. Dwyer is the third and final candidate in the running for the position. Like Norton, Dwyer joined the University of San Diego faculty in 1994. She served as chair of the department of Chemistry and Biochemistry from 2001-2009. Dwyer is passionate about chemistry and enjoys teaching how theory and experiment blend to enhance our understanding of the physical world and of chemical phenomena. Her biography on the USD website states that Dwyer “strives to create a positive and relaxed classroom atmosphere to facilitate learning while setting high standards for her students and providing them with the tools to meet the course goals.”

Dwyer also maintains an active research program involving undergraduates focused on using NMR spectroscopy and computational methods to study structure and dynamics in both small and large molecules. Dwyer was awarded the 2001 Davies Award for Teaching Excellence. Dwyer’s research program encompasses both physical-organic chemistry and biophysical chemistry.

Dwyer was recently awarded ‘12-’13 University Professorship. The Professorship is the highest academic honor bestowed university-wide and is given in recognition of outstanding scholarly achievements in teaching and research. Dwyer was given this prestigious honor for her research program, as well as her regularly published top-notch journals with her undergraduate research students as co-authors.
Even with their fields of study varying greatly within the CAS, each candidate feature an impressive set of credentials that make any one of them qualified for the position.