Interdisciplinary leader named dean of SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences

Thomas DiPiero of the University of Rochester is the new dean of SMU’s Dedman College.

Thomas DiPiero

DALLAS (SMU) – Thomas DiPiero, whose academic interests range from the psychoanalysis of race and gender to French literature, is the new dean of SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences and professor in the Departments of English and World Languages and Literatures. 

Thomas DiPiero DiPiero will join SMU on Aug. 12 from the University of Rochester, where he is dean of humanities and interdisciplinary studies in the College of Arts, Sciences and Engineering and professor of French and of Visual and Cultural Studies. He replaces William Tsutsui, who resigned in May to become president of Hendrix College.

“I am honored and exhilarated to have been named dean of Dedman College,” DiPiero said. “Dedman College is the academic heart of SMU, home to world-class, innovative teaching and research about the natural world, its people, their creations and institutions. The college’s departments, programs, and centers are leading the way in creating new knowledge and new fields of inquiry, and I am tremendously eager to work with faculty, students, and staff to extend the intellectual boundaries of our work and the geographic reaches of our discoveries.”

DiPiero received a Ph.D. in Romance Studies from Cornell University in 1988, and a Master of Arts from Cornell University in Romance Studies in 1984 and a Master of Arts from The Ohio State University in Romance Languages and Literatures in 1980. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in French from The Ohio State University in 1978.

“I am excited about Dedman College’s future under the leadership of Dr. DiPiero,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “The College, which is the heart of an SMU education, will benefit from his interdisciplinary approach to the humanities and sciences, as well as from his passion for research and teaching. He’s a great fit for Dedman College and for SMU.”

“Dr. DiPiero has an outstanding reputation for working across boundaries to bring the humanities and sciences together,” said Paul Ludden, SMU provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “He also established a strong record of promoting both graduate and undergraduate students during his time at the University of Rochester. The students of Dedman College and the broader University will be well served by his leadership and experience.”

DiPiero is the author or co-editor of three books: White Men Aren’t (Duke University Press, 2002); Illicit Sex: Identity Politics in Early Modern Europe, edited with Pat Gill (University of Georgia Press, 1997); and Dangerous Truths and Criminal Passions: The Evolution of the French Novel 1569-1791 (Stanford University Press, 1992). He served as editor of the Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies (University of Pennsylvania Press) from 2005-13, and has written several book chapters, as well as numerous journal articles.

DiPiero previously served as a visiting faculty member at SMU-in-Taos in 2011 and as a guest lecturer for SMU’s Gilbert Lecture Series in 2008.

At the University of Rochester, he won the Robert and Pamela Goergen Award for Distinguished Achievement and Artistry in Undergraduate Teaching in 2004 and the University Dean’s Award for Meritorious Service in Ph.D. Defenses in 2011. He was elected in 2009 as an honorary faculty member of the Keidaean Senior Honors Society. He served as the principal investigator for “Training Graduate Students in the Digital Humanities,” which received $1 million in funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Prior to Rochester, DiPiero was a visiting assistant professor of French and Humanities at Reed College in Portland, Ore., from 1985-87 and a lecturer at the Université de Paris-X, Paris, France, from 1982-83.

“Tom DiPiero will bring a superb combination of gifts to his new position as dean of Dedman College,” said William B. Lawrence, dean of SMU’s Perkins School of Theology and search committee chair. “He has excelled as an interdisciplinary and international leader in higher education, with creative initiatives in the sciences as well as the humanities. Our search committee was tremendously impressed with his qualifications, and we are thrilled with his appointment.”

Ludden expressed thanks to Peter Moore, senior associate dean and associate dean for Academic Affairs in Dedman College, for serving as interim dean during the search.  “Dr. Moore is a consummate professional, and his work in an interim role is helping Dedman College maintain its momentum as we prepare for Dr. DiPiero’s arrival.”

Dedman College is home to the humanities, social sciences, and natural and mathematical sciences as well as the general education program that all students follow before declaring a major.

As dean of Dedman College, DiPiero will head the largest of SMU’s seven colleges and schools, with its 307 full-time faculty members, including 19 endowed professorships. About half of SMU’s undergraduates pursue their majors in Dedman College through 39 baccalaureate degree programs and their minors in more than 50 areas. Nineteen graduate programs in Dedman College lead to a master’s degree and 13 programs lead to a doctor of philosophy degree.

The College was named in 1981 for the late Robert H. Dedman Sr. (’53) and his wife, Nancy McMillan Dedman (’50.)

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SMU is a nationally ranked private university in Dallas founded 100 years ago. Today, SMU enrolls nearly 11,000 students who benefit from the academic opportunities and international reach of seven degree-granting schools.

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