Renowned Jesuit Philosopher Has Been Member of University Faculty for 25 Years
Saint Louis University today named Michael Barber, S.J., dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. His appointment is effective immediately. He will remain dean of the College of Philosophy and Letters, a position he has held since 2009.
A two-time SLU alumnus, Barber had served as interim dean of A&S since July. He has been a faculty member in the philosophy department for 25 years, and is a former holder of the University's Hotfelder Distinguished Chair in the Humanities.
"Mike is an incredible teacher and scholar who has had a great impact on our students here at SLU," said University President Lawrence Biondi, S.J. "As interim dean, Mike demonstrated that he is a thoughtful, skillful and effective leader, and I have no doubt that he will move the college forward. We are lucky to have him in this new role."
Manoj Patankar, Ph.D., vice president for Frost, was equally enthusiastic about the qualities Barber brings to the position.
|Michael Barber, S.J.|
"Father Barber brings not only the unwavering commitment to Jesuit education, but also stability to the leadership of A&S, a strong ability to build relationships across a wide variety of disciplines, and his own brilliant scholarship and international reputation," Patankar said.
For his part, Barber said he was honored to have been selected to lead the college going forward.
"I am grateful to Father Biondi, Dr. Patankar and all the personnel of the college," he said. "I'll do my best to live up to the trust that's been placed in me."
When he was named interim dean last summer, Barber outlined several priorities including:
- Maintaining and improving academics, teaching, research and service
- Implementing the graduate education transition
- Promoting an atmosphere of mutual respect among all members of the diverse units that make up the college
Progress has been made on all three fronts, Barber said. The college added several faculty positions this year as well as forged partnerships with other academic units around the University.
"All of the collaboration and cooperation I have experienced as interim dean this year gives me a great deal of hope for our future," Barber said.
As interim, Barber was focused on strengthening connections with the college's large alumni base. A new online publication for alumni is just one of the efforts under way.
"Reaching out to our alumni is incredibly important," Barber said. "From encouragement to financial assistance, our alumni offer us support in the broadest possible sense."
Sandra Johnson, J.D., interim dean of the School of Law, chaired the search committee for the A&S position. After an aggressive national search that drew applications from around the country and several strong finalists to campus, the committee overwhelmingly endorsed Barber's candidacy.
"Father Barber is a talented administrator, and the committee felt he had the greatest vision for the college and its future," Johnson said.
More about Barber:
Barber is a renowned scholar in the field of phenomenology, which studies human consciousness and self-awareness and the world as we experience it. He has received numerous grants and awards, including a 2010 Mellon Grant for the international and interdisciplinary conference, "Phenomenology: A Bridge Between the East and the West," which will be held May 23-25 in St. Louis. Barber is a co-organizer of the major gathering.
A widely published author, editor and translator, Barber's most recent book, The Intentional Spectrum and Intersubjectivity: Phenomenology and the Pittsburgh Neo-Hegelians, was published by Ohio University Press this year. He also penned the 2004 book, The Participating Citizen: A Biography of Alfred Schultz, which won the Edward Goodwin Ballard Prize in Phenomenology from the Center for Advanced Research in Phenomenology.
Actively involved with advisory boards and professional organizations, Barber is a member of the American Philosophical Association and has held several leadership positions in the Jesuit Philosophical Association, including serving as the group's president.
Prior to coming to Saint Louis University in 1985, Barber taught at Rockhurst University and Rockhurst High School in Kansas City, Mo. Barber earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in philosophy at SLU, a master's of divinity at Loyola University-Chicago and a doctorate at Yale University.