Katherine A. Black, who has served as interim dean of the University of Hartford’s College of Arts and Sciences since January 2014, will become dean of the college effective Nov. 1. University President Walter Harrison announced Black’s appointment in an email to faculty and staff on Thursday morning, Oct. 23. The College of Arts and Sciences (A&S) is the largest of the University of Hartford’s seven schools and colleges.
“Katherine’s performance as Interim Dean has earned strong support from her college’s faculty and staff, the Council of Deans, and other University colleagues,” President Harrison said. “She has served the University of Hartford in multiple administrative roles with distinction, and this appointment as dean reflects the confidence that Provost Sharon Vasquez and I have in her leadership abilities.”
Black joined the University of Hartford faculty in 1998 as an assistant professor of psychology, and she is now a professor of psychology.
“Sixteen years ago, I was drawn to the University of Hartford community—a community of learners who inspire and care about each other,” Black said. “I am honored to be a part of that community and to be named the next dean to lead the College of Arts and Sciences. I have had the great fortune of working with so many dedicated faculty, staff, students, and alumni who are committed to our mission, and I am excited to continue our work together.”
As interim dean of A&S, “Katherine has demonstrated a keen understanding of the challenges facing higher education and the liberal arts,” Harrison wrote in his letter announcing Black’s appointment. “She brings a clear and optimistic message about the central position that the College of Arts and Sciences plays in implementing our Strategic Plan, ‘Celebrating Our Tradition, Engaging Our Future,’ while reflecting the student-centered focus that is essential for leading the college. Her work over these past months demonstrates considerable attention to areas of critical focus such as recruitment and retention, alumni engagement, high impact teaching practices, and career ready preparation of our students.”
In outlining her vision for the College of Arts and Sciences, Black said that “We must continue to promote the value of a liberal arts education and to prepare our students with the critical thinking, problem solving, and communication skills they will need to be effective in the world. We must help our students delineate clear pathways to careers, and to instill in our students the values of integrity, responsibility, and lifelong learning that will serve as their guides. We must continue to support innovative teaching and scholarship, and to build upon the strong faculty-student relationships and one-on-one mentoring that make the University of Hartford so distinctive.”
Black earned a BA in psychology from Bucknell University, and an MA and PhD in psychology from the University of New Hampshire. As a faculty member at the University of Hartford, she has taught both undergraduate and graduate courses. Black also has maintained an active research program, focusing on the long-term impact of parent-child relationships as well as on people’s judgments about responsibility and consequences for sexual violence. She often collaborates with students in her research efforts. In acknowledgement of teaching excellence, Black was honored with an Innovations in Teaching and Learning Award from the University in 2013.
Black served as the associate dean for budget and finance of the College of Arts and Sciences beginning in 2011. Black also served as the assistant provost from 2004 to 2008, and as the chair (and later co-chair) of the Department of Psychology from 2008 to 2012. In 2012 she was awarded the Oscar and Shoshana Trachtenberg Award for Distinguished Service to the University of Hartford. She has served on the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) Steering Committee, and played major roles in accrediting efforts for the school psychology program and the merger of the Graduate Institute of Professional Psychology with the Department of Psychology.
Committed to ongoing professional development, she has participated in Harvard’s Management Development Program as well as the Wellesley Institute for Women in Higher Education Administration led by Higher Education Resource Services (HERS).
“As many of you who have worked with her can confirm, [Black] brings both a sharp intellect and a fair minded approach to problem solving and to managing people,” Harrison said. “She always acts with the highest integrity and a firm commitment to the common good.”
Black said that she is “looking forward to working with my colleagues within the College and throughout the University to challenge and support our students so that they may lead successful and satisfying professional and personal lives.”