After six years as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Robbin Crabtree will leave Fairfield for a position as dean of the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts at Loyola Marymount University in California.

Fairfield is currently accepting nominations for an interim dean of CAS, according to Fr. Paul Fitzgerald, S.J., outgoing Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Crabtree was approached by LMU in the fall of 2013 for a dean position. Crabtree has worked at Fairfield for 13 years, six of which she held as the dean, which is longer than the average term for which one would hold a dean position, Crabtree said.

According to Crabtree, after a while deans usually return to teaching or seek a vice president or provost position. Yet, Crabtree is pursuing another dean position at another Jesuit higher education institution.

“The work of a dean is close to the faculty and academic programs and still has some student contact. This is the work that appeals to me,” said Crabtree.

Although Crabtree “will be sad to leave Fairfield,” she says that having a position in California will bring her closer to her family, as she has lived away from her home state of California for 30 years now.

“My family really wanted me to return to California one day if the right opportunity came along,” said Crabtree. “My mom and sister are particularly happy, as I’ll be just 90 miles from where they live.”

In 2006, Crabtree won the “Top Paper in Health Communication” awarded by the Western States Communication Association, and was selected as “Teacher of the Year” by Alpha Sigma Nu in 2007.

Dr. Philip Eliasoph, professor of visual and performing arts, said that Crabtree had “a desire to notch up [Fairfield’s] game from a credible regional college into a bolder, wider vision as a truly enviable national institution.”

Given these initiatives, Crabtree does not predict that the CAS will be slowing down, given her departure.

“The College is in great shape, with a world-class faculty and very strong academic degree programs,” said Crabtree. “I have every confidence that a wonderful new dean will be found who will bring their own energy and abilities to the job.”

“We should only hope that the next dean will demonstrate one half of her sense of daring, humanity and kung fu-styled spin kicking intelligence,” Eliasoph said.

“I look for those qualities that are central to Fairfield’s Jesuit mission and identity: integrity, intellectual rigor, wisdom, kindness and generosity,” said Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald has asked the faculty of the CAS to nominate themselves or their peers to take the interim position. Fitzgerald has received nine responses from the faculty so far. After consultation with the faculty, Fitzgerald will select the interim dean with the advice of  President Fr. Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J.

The interim dean will be named by the end of this week, according to Fitzgerald.

In the next year, Fitzgerald’s successor will search for a dean who will take the position permanently. This process is set to take several months, according to Fitzgerald.


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