Professor of Sociology Mary Osirim Named Dean of Graduate Studies

Posted March 24th, 2011 at 12:43 pm.

osirimBryn Mawr Professor of Sociology and Coordinator of the Africana Studies Program Mary Osirim has been named the College’s new Dean of Graduate Studies, Bryn Mawr President Jane McAuliffe has announced.

“Whether as chair of her department or as a member of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, Mary has proven her leadership capacity time and again. I am so pleased that she has agreed to take on this new service to the Bryn Mawr community. She will bring an experienced vision to the position of Dean of Graduate Studies and will enrich that role with her characteristic energy and enthusiasm,” says McAuliffe.

In addition to chairing the sociology department, Osirim has served as a co-director of the College’s Center for International Studies and its Center for Ethnicities, Communities, and Social Policy (now the Center for Social Sciences), and as director of its Africana Studies Program. She also serves as Faculty Diversity Liaison at the College and a member of the Diversity Leadership Group.

During the past 20 years, Osirim has conducted fieldwork on women, entrepreneurship, and the roles of the state and non-governmental organizations in the microenterprise sectors of Nigeria and Zimbabwe in which Bryn Mawr students participated as research assistants. She is the author of Enterprising Women in Urban Zimbabwe: Gender, Microbusiness and Globalization and the co-editor of Global Philadelphia: Immigrant Communities, Old and New, among numerous other publications.

“I am very excited about the opportunity to advance graduate education, to build greater linkages and further collaboration between the undergraduate College and our graduate schools and to explore the possibilities of new initiatives in graduate studies at Bryn Mawr,” says Osirim.

Osirim will follow Physics Professor Liz McCormack as dean. McCormack decided not to seek another three-year term so as to take a year of research leave she had delayed during her tenure as dean.

“Liz has been leading our graduate programs through a time of change as the College works to implement the recommendations of the Task Force on Balancing Mission and Resources and to enhance the educational experience of both graduate and undergraduate students,” said McAuliffe. “Her thoughtful work with departments and faculty and her celebration and support of student achievement have gained wide appreciation.”

In making the announcement, McAuliffe also thanked the members of the subcommittee of the Graduate Council who guided the search. The subcommittee was made up of Professor of Social Work and Social Research Leslie Alexander, Professor of Philosophy Christine Koggel, and Laura Surtees, a Ph.D. candidate in classical and Near Eastern archaeology.

The dean of Graduate Studies oversees programs in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research.

Through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Bryn Mawr offers coeducational Ph.D. programs in classical and Near Eastern archaeology, Greek and Latin, history of art, clinical developmental psychology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics. An M.A. program in French is also offered.

The Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research is one of the nation’s oldest academic social-work programs. The school provides a learning environment that is supportive and intellectually rigorous, encouraging critical thinking and the expression of social-work values through classes, field-based training, research, and active civic engagement in collaboration with the College as a whole.

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