College of Liberal Arts dean to step down at the University of Minnesota

  • Article by: MARY LYNN SMITH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 14, 2013 - 7:23 PM

James Parente Jr. has led the largest college on campus since 2008.

James Parente

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The dean of the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota announced Wednesday that he will leave his administrative job in June.

James Parente Jr., who has held leadership positions in the university’s largest college for 13 years, said he will resign as dean on June 30 and return to his faculty position as professor in the Department of German, Scandinavian and Dutch. He has served as the liberal arts dean since 2008.

“I’m getting a little older, and I’ve been contemplating how I want to spend the rest of my time at the University of Minnesota,” said Parente, who will be 60 when he steps down. “It’s always been my plan to return to the faculty. ... I wanted to have time to go back to the department and teach and take up some research projects. I enjoy the stuff I teach and getting people excited … about understanding the past and connecting it with their contemporary lives. I love changing students’ expectations through teaching.”

University officials plan to appoint an interim dean while conducting a national search for his replacement. Karen Hanson, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, said she expects a new dean will be hired by January 2014.

University officials said the timing for the change is good because the college is in a “position of strength financially and academically.”

“Over the past 13 years, Dean Parente has been an eloquent spokesman, a champion for the liberal arts to both internal and external communities,” Hanson said. “He has enhanced the college’s reputation for academic excellence and innovative teaching, research and service, while at the same time giving attention to university priorities and budget challenges.”

The College of Liberal Arts, with nearly 16,000 students, accounts for about half of the student population on the Twin Cities campus and is larger than the university’s Morris, Crookston and Duluth campuses combined.


Mary Lynn Smith • 612-673-4788

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