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Vice Provost Michele Moody-Adams named to deanship and vice presidency at Columbia


Michele Moody-Adams, vice provost for undergraduate education at Cornell since 2005, has been named dean at Columbia College and vice president for undergraduate education at Columbia University, beginning July 1.

A member of the Cornell faculty since 2000, Moody-Adams is also professor of philosophy, the Hutchinson Professor of Ethics and Public Life and director of the university's Program on Ethics and Public Life.

Her husband, James Eli Adams, Ph.D. '87, associate professor of English and a scholar specializing in Victorian literature, has been named professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia.

"It has been an honor and a privilege to serve Cornell in my various roles here," said Moody-Adams. "I have had the pleasure of working with extraordinarily dedicated faculty and administrative colleagues and teaching outstanding students. I will always feel a strong connection to Cornell. Until my departure at the end of June, I will remain a committed partner in our efforts to make Cornell a leaner, but no less extraordinary, research university with a continuing commitment to providing a quality education for its undergraduates."

"Michele is an exceptional scholar and administrator," said Provost Kent Fuchs. "Her breadth of experience working on many issues of vital importance to the university and her deep academic insights have enriched Cornell in multiple ways. We will miss her leadership, insights and intellect."

As vice provost, Moody-Adams has served as the provost's point person for undergraduate academic initiatives and concerns. She was the driving force, for example, behind the establishment of the new Center for Teaching Excellence and the strengthened support services for first-generation college students, students from economically and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds, and minority students. She also is credited with helping to strengthen campuswide support for undergraduate research and enrich the first-year experience for Cornell students through closer collaboration with the work of the Tatkon Center. In addition, her office oversees the New Student Reading Project and the Alumni-Student Mentoring Program, and in collaboration with the Division of Student and Academic Services, oversees the West Campus House system.

Moody-Adams also serves as co-chair of the West Campus Council and is former chair of the Program for A.D. White Professors-at-Large. She is a member of the University Appeals Panel and the Rhodes/Marshall Scholarship Endorsement Committee.

A moral and political philosopher, she researches and teaches such issues as ethical theory, political philosophy, practical ethics and the philosophy of law. She has published widely on moral relativism and moral objectivity, economic and social justice, affirmative action and multiculturalism, and the moral implications of reproductive technologies. She is the author of "Fieldwork in Familiar Places: Morality, Culture and Philosophy" (1997), a widely cited book on moral relativism and moral objectivity. She has been a National Endowment for the Humanities fellow and serves on the editorial board of several scholarly journals.

"Michele is an outstanding philosopher who is held in high regard for her research and her ability to bring the issues and impact of her research into the broader academic life at Cornell," said G. Peter Lepage, the Harold Tanner Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. "Through her teaching, her direction of the New Student Reading Project and her leadership of the Program on Ethics and Public Life, she has encouraged undergraduates to think critically about morality in individual and social contexts. She has offered them tools that are a valuable complement to any academic path."

Moody-Adams received a bachelor's degree in philosophy from Wellesley College (1978) and was a Marshall Scholar at Somerville College, the University of Oxford (1978-1980), where she completed a second bachelor's degree in philosophy, politics and economics. She received her master's and doctoral degrees (1986) in philosophy from Harvard University.

She was assistant professor at the University of Rochester (1988-91) and at Wellesley (1986-88) before joining Indiana University as an assistant professor of philosophy in 1991, becoming associate dean in 1998.


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