President Lee C. Bollinger has appointed new deans at five of Columbia’s schools and colleges, choosing widely admired scholars from within the University’s own ranks to fill each of the crucial leadership positions.
Dean of Columbia College and Vice President of Undergraduate Education
Since joining Columbia’s faculty in 2009, Sorett, a professor of religion and African-American and African-diaspora studies, has served as chair of the Department of Religion; founding director of the Center on African-American Religion, Sexual Politics, and Social Justice; and chair of the Inclusive Public Safety Advisory Committee, which is part of the University’s ongoing efforts to address anti-Black racism.
Sorett’s scholarship explores the vital and complex roles that religion has played in shaping the cultures of Black communities and social movements in the US. He is the author of Spirit in the Dark: A Religious History of Racial Aesthetics and the editor of The Sexual Politics of Black Churches.
A popular teacher and mentor, Sorett received the Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching at this year’s Commencement. He succeeds Dean James Valentini, a professor of chemistry who led the College for more than a decade.
Dean of the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science
Chang, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science who has taught at Columbia since 1993, previously served as senior executive vice dean under engineering dean Mary C. Boyce, who last year became University Provost. Chang was instrumental in establishing the school as a vibrant hub of University-wide data-driven multidisciplinary research in areas like climate modeling, health analytics, and pandemic response, while also overseeing diversity, equity, and inclusion programs within the school.
An expert on artificial intelligence, multimedia content analysis, and computer vision, Chang has developed new ways to extract information from images, video, and audio. His work has had important real-world applications, leading to the creation of tools that prevent human trafficking and provide journalists with image-recognition capabilities.
Keren Yarhi-Milo ’03GS
Dean of the School of International and Public Affairs
An expert in international security and conflict resolution and the Arnold A. Saltzman Professor of War and Peace Studies, Yarhi-Milo draws on insights from psychology, organizational theory, and behavioral economics to study how leaders make foreign-policy decisions regarding the use of force.
A graduate of Columbia’s School of General Studies, Yarhi-Milo taught at Princeton for more than a decade before returning to Columbia as a SIPA professor in 2019. She quickly became engaged in leadership activities at the school, directing its Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies, working with the Columbia Global Centers and the Committee on Forced Migration to help students and scholars displaced by the crisis in Afghanistan, and earlier this year expanding that effort to include those seeking refuge from the war in Ukraine.
Yarhi-Milo replaces Thomas Christensen ’93GSAS, a professor of international relations who served as interim dean following Dean Merit Janow’s decision to return to teaching international economic law.
Dean of Columbia Journalism School
A professor of journalism and director of the Ira A. Lipman Center for Journalism and Civil and Human Rights, Cobb has been a member of the journalism school’s faculty since 2016. A distinguished reporter and scholar who writes about race, politics, history, and culture, he is a staff writer at the New Yorker and the author of several books.
Cobb and his colleagues at the Lipman Center have regularly convened experts and supported journalists from diverse backgrounds to ensure that stories on civil and human rights are reported with care and rigor. Among the courses that Cobb teaches is the seminar Covering Race, which examines the influence of race in the United States and its effects on reporting and media coverage. He takes over as dean from fellow journalism professor and New Yorker writer Steve Coll.
Dean of the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation
A distinguished architect, curator, and artist, Jaque has taught at GSAPP since 2013 and has led the school’s Master of Science program in Advanced Architectural Design for the past four years. He is the founder of the Office for Political Innovation, an international architectural firm based in New York and Madrid, which is known for its forward-looking, inclusive, and sustainable projects across different scales and media. The firm’s work is part of the collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Art Institute of Chicago and has been exhibited at institutions around the world.
Jaque replaces Weiping Wu, who led GSAPP on an interim basis since Amale Andraos stepped down as dean last fall.