Announcing the Appointment of Jessica Lang, PhD, as Dean of Baruch College’s Weissman School of Arts and Sciences
November 30, 2021
Dear Baruch Community,
I am honored to announce the appointment of Jessica Lang, PhD, as dean of Baruch’s Weissman School of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Lang, who joined Baruch’s faculty in 2004, has led the School with distinction as interim dean since July 2020. It is my privilege to make this announcement after receiving advice from current and former chairs of the Weissman School’s academic departments, as well as faculty leaders from across the College.
Dean Lang’s appointment, subject to final approval by the CUNY Board of Trustees, is deeply significant for the College. Baruch’s three deans are integral members of President S. David Wu’s Cabinet, and together they helm the intellectual core of our institution—the faculty. They lead our world-class professorate by supporting and inspiring excellent teaching, impactful research, and innovation. In this mission-critical work, our deans are responsible for our institution’s strong reputation as an engine of academic excellence, access, and social mobility of our students.
A Proven Leader as Interim Dean
Over the last 16 months, arguably one of the most challenging periods in all of higher education, Dr. Lang excelled in the role of dean. She brought not only stability to the Office of the Weissman Dean but the collaborative spirit and energy to take on the most essential and forward-looking projects. Current and former department chairs in the Weissman School indicated their strong support and admiration for her leadership. “Jessica is an incredible collaborator and a compassionate leader who listens to and cares about the students, faculty, and staff in Weissman and across the College community,” said Dr. Shelly Eversley, interim chair of the Department of Black and Latino Studies.
In her relatively short time as interim dean, Dr. Lang stood up the Weissman Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Initiative, which is already creating change in the School. Led by three Weissman DEI Fellows, and engaging a 25-member faculty alliance, the DEI initiative is dedicated to reviewing, analyzing, and proposing changes that reflect best practices around diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Dr. Lang has been a staunch supporter of faculty research, scholarship, creative activity, mentorship, and pedagogical excellence. She has also prioritized and invigorated such student-centered initiatives as new majors and fields of study at both the undergraduate and graduate levels; the development and refinement of flexible distance learning options; and services to support on-track graduation. She created a new Weissman Dean’s Advisory Council, inclusive of alumni, faculty, and community leaders.
An innate collaborator and visionary leader, Dr. Lang is an instrumental partner in the launch of our multidisciplinary Financial Engineering Hub at Baruch. In partnership with the Zicklin School of Business, this interdisciplinary collaboration will build on our world-renowned Master of Financial Engineering (MFE) program, draw on the expertise of our faculty in both schools, and grow to include new degree and certificate offerings and create a Center for Financial Engineering for corporate engagement and partnership. I am confident that this major enterprise is just the first of many innovative, cross-disciplinary endeavors that Dean Lang will animate.
A Wealth of Academic, Scholarly, and Leadership Experience
Jessica Lang brings to the Weissman School deanship a wealth of academic, scholarly, and leadership experience. Prior to her role as interim dean, Dr. Lang was chair and professor in the Department of English, one of the College’s largest departments, where she taught undergraduates at every stage of their Baruch careers. An accomplished educator, Dr. Lang was recognized with a Presidential Excellence Award for Distinguished Teaching in 2017.
She is also a noted expert in her field, with areas of specialization spanning early American fiction and Jewish American and Holocaust literature. Her numerous publications include the co-edited volume Off the Derech: Leaving Orthodox Judaism (SUNY Press, 2020) and Textual Silence: Unreadability and the Holocaust (Rutgers University Press, 2017).
As the founding William Newman Director of Baruch’s Sandra Kahn Wasserman Jewish Studies Center, Dr. Lang administered the center’s academic programs and fostered relationships with arts and cultural organizations. She will continue to co-direct the center while dean.
Dr. Lang’s current curriculum vitae shows the great breadth of her academic contributions.
Please Join Me in Congratulating Dean Lang!
Weissman offers more than 50 areas of study that blend rigorous theory and practical experience, and confers degrees at the BA, BS, MA, and MS levels. The School serves the vast majority of our students—more than 15,000 undergraduates whose bachelor’s degree programs require completion of the Pathways curriculum and either a Weissman minor or major—and guides their intellectual development, communication and quantitative skills, critical and analytical abilities, and ethical, civic, aesthetic, cross-cultural awareness—and self-confidence. With Dean Lang’s vision and leadership, I am confident that Weissman will build on this strong foundation to push boundaries at the forefront of liberal arts education.
That our new dean comes from our community and is intimately familiar with our culture, our goals, and our aspirations is a strength that will help Baruch move forward during these still-challenging times. I am looking forward to deepening and expanding my collaborations with Dean Lang.
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs