Today, students received an email from Claremont McKenna College President Hiram Chodosh announcing the appointment of Professor Heather Antecol as Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty and Pitzer College Professor Muriel Poston as Vice President for Strategic Initiatives.
The message explained that the Vice President for Strategic Initiatives is “a new senior position for the College that focuses on implementing CMC’s integrated sciences and computation strategy; reinforcing and expanding The Open Academy commitments both at CMC and nationally; and advancing and integrating The Presidential Initiative on Anti-Racism and the Black Experience in America.”
Heather Antecol is the Boswell Professor of Economics at Claremont McKenna College. Her field of expertise is in labor economics and has “had more than 30 publications appear in highly-respected economics journals, including a 2018 paper on the impact of gender-neutral tenure clock stopping policies for family-related reasons on tenure rates in the American Economic Review that also received attention from the New York Times.”
Muriel Poston is a Professor of Environmental Science at Pitzer College whose research interests include “broadening participation of underrepresented students and faculty in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines, particularly in the context of the changing nature of the professoriate to non-tenure-track appointments.” President Chodosh’s email notes that Professor Poston “has held several leadership roles at the National Science Foundation, including Division Director in Biological Sciences and Division Director in Education and Human Resources.”
In 2018, CMC announced the creation of “its own science department, eventually hiring from 22 to 28 full-time faculty.” CMC, Scripps, and Pitzer, three of the five Claremont Colleges, currently share the Keck Science Department, but this decision involves “Scripps College and Pitzer College [jointly assuming] ownership of CMC’s stake in the Keck Science department.” The announcement projected that “Planning for the reorganization will take at least the remainder of the [2018-2019] academic year, with full implementation expected to roll out over the next four to five years. CMC hopes to construct and open a new science building in four years.”
Also in 2018, Claremont McKenna established the “Claremont McKenna Commitments to Freedom of Expression, Viewpoint Diversity, and Effective Dialogue” in response to polarization in both the country and across higher education. These commitments are a part of a CMC-wide initiative called “The Open Academy.” The college stated that
“Only through renewed academic and institutional commitments to take effective action will we develop and sustain an effective response to these national challenges. Accordingly, Claremont McKenna College (the “College”) commits to strengthen the effectiveness in practice of the policies, programs, pedagogies, and dedicated training that develop these responsive capabilities in the next generation of emerging leaders. Such commitments shall be known as The Claremont McKenna Commitments to Freedom of Expression, Viewpoint Diversity, and Effective Dialogue.”
The presidential anti-racism initiative Professor Poston is tasked with advancing would require “each department, office, institute, and functional area, to identify and change any practices, policies and protocols which do not fully support the anti-racist campus environment we aspire to achieve.” President Chodosh called for this initiative last summer during Black Lives Matter protests in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder.
Today’s announcement states that “Dr. Antecol will begin her new role immediately. Dr. Poston will serve in a part-time role for the College until she fulfills her current teaching and leadership responsibilities this semester. She will start her full-time role as Vice President on June 1.”