PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Kevin McLaughlin, the Nicholas Brown Professor of Oratory and Belles Lettres and professor of English, comparative literature, and German studies, has been appointed dean of the faculty at Brown University. McLaughlin will begin his duties as dean on July 1, 2011, succeeding Rajiv Vohra.
A distinguished scholar of 19th-century European and American literature, McLaughlin has served as chair of the Department of English since 2005 and has served simultaneously as interim chair of the Department of German Studies for the last year. In making the announcement, President Ruth J. Simmons and Provost David Kertzer said McLaughlin’s “great talents for organization, intelligence, good judgment, and high standards have been made clear to all of his colleagues” in both his academic and administrative work.
The dean of the faculty is a senior member of the University’s academic administration and is directly responsible for the recruitment, retention and development of University faculty, working closely with the dean of medicine and biological sciences, who has those responsibilities within the Division of Biology and Medicine.
As the officer most directly involved in shaping and developing the Brown faculty, the dean of the faculty has a significant impact on the University’s intellectual life and academic future. The dean supervises and approves all faculty searches and departmental hiring plans; works with faculty governance committees on hiring, reappointment, promotion and tenure; convenes small discussion groups of department chairs and faculty on academic issues and initiatives; serves as the faculty’s advocate within the University; and is a member of the President’s Cabinet.
A graduate of McDaniel College, McLaughlin earned a Ph.D from New York University in 1989. He came to Brown in 1996 after teaching at Harvard University and St. John’s University.
McLaughlin’s research focuses on European and American literature during the 19th century with special emphasis on the interconnections between literature and philosophy. He is the author of two books: Writing in Parts: Imitation and Exchange in 19th-Century Literature (Stanford University Press, 1995) and Paperwork: Fiction and Mass Mediacy in the Paper Age (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005). He is also co-translator of Walter Benjamin's The Arcades Project (Harvard University Press, 1999). McLaughlin has been the recipient of research grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Fulbright Program and the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst.
McLaughlin was chosen by Provost-Designate Mark Schlissel in consultation with President Simmons from a field of internal candidates. In addition to Provost Kertzer, who served as chair, the search committee for the dean of the faculty included Lina Fruzzetti, professor of anthropology; Susan Harvey, professor of religious studies; William Heindel, professor of cognitive, linguistic, and psychological sciences; David Rand, professor of biology (ecology and evolutionary biology); Chung-I Tan, professor of physics; David Weil, professor of economics; and Patricia Ybarra, associate professor of theatre arts and performance studies.