Main content
Barbara Krauthamer named dean of Emory College of Arts and Sciences
Media Contact
Sylvia Carson
profile image of Barbara Krauthamer

Nationally regarded historian Barbara Krauthamer, currently dean of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts at University of Massachusetts Amherst, joins Emory on July 1.

— Stephen Nowland, Emory Photo/Video

Barbara Krauthamer, an award-winning author and historian, has been appointed as the next dean of Emory College of Arts and Sciences. Currently dean of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts at University of Massachusetts Amherst, she will take the helm of Emory University’s largest school on July 1.

“Barbara Krauthamer, through her high-level academic leadership and scholarship as a historian, has shown the power of higher education to change lives through knowledge, discovery and creativity,” says Emory President Gregory L. Fenves. “She has broad experience and a compelling vision to take the Emory College of Arts and Sciences to new heights of excellence and she will be a champion for our students and faculty across disciplines and specialties.”

Krauthamer’s appointment was announced April 25 by Ravi V. Bellamkonda, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, following a competitive national search that attracted nearly 100 candidates.

“Barbara quickly rose to the fore thanks to her leadership skills; deep commitment to academic excellence; positive, can-do attitude; and strong track record of building healthy, operationally and financially sound organizations,” says Bellamkonda. “We are ambitious for Emory College of Arts and Sciences, and at this moment — with so many exciting possibilities within our grasp — Barbara’s breadth of experience and incredible energy will help us advance our vision for a more eminent, creative Emory dedicated to the success of our faculty, staff and students.”

It was the strength of that vision, and the university’s core values, that attracted her to Emory, Krauthamer says. “I think what makes Emory distinctive is a sense of service — that at this institution, education and research are in the service of human good,” she says. “We’re at a crucial moment for higher education, and I believe that Emory College’s strengths in the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences provide critical avenues through which we can prepare students to understand the human experience and move the world forward in productive, fulfilling ways.”

An accomplished leader

A member of the history faculty at UMass Amherst since 2008, Krauthamer served from 2017 to 2020 as dean of the university’s Graduate School, holding a concurrent position as senior vice provost for interdisciplinary programs and innovations from 2019 to 2020. She has also served on the faculty at New York University.

During her time at UMass Amherst, she advanced a compelling vision for a liberal arts education that promotes innovation at the intersection of the humanities, sciences and technology, working closely with leaders in nine colleges to promote interdisciplinary initiatives and support research opportunities for faculty and students across the disciplines.  

An administrative leader who views effective operational management as “the foundation for supporting the successful realization of goals and priorities,” she also led data-driven strategic planning initiatives to build upon academic strengths and identify growth opportunities.  

Krauthamer is also passionate about creating intellectual communities and conditions that help faculty, staff and students thrive and do their best work.  For example, she launched a mentoring program that also built community among junior faculty, and identified new opportunities for staff professional development and recognition. She reinvigorated a signature seminar that has improved academic outcomes and satisfaction for first-generation and underrepresented students, and worked to ensure that students could access co-curricular opportunities such as study abroad and internships regardless of financial need. She has also proactively engaged the broader UMass alumni and regional communities.

“Dr. Krauthamer is an outstanding scholar, teacher and leader,” says Kumble Subbaswamy, chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Amherst. “Both in her role as graduate dean and as dean of the College of the Humanities and Fine Arts, she has distinguished herself through her devotion to student and faculty development. She has been a great ambassador for UMass in emphasizing equity and access. She will be sorely missed.”

A preeminent scholar

The daughter of two scientists, Krauthamer was born in New Jersey and earned a degree in government from Dartmouth College. She graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with an MA in history, which she followed with a PhD in history from Princeton University.

Krauthamer is the author of multiple books, including “Black Slaves, Indian Masters: Slavery, Emancipation and Citizenship in the Native American South” and, co-authored with Deborah Willis, “Envisioning Emancipation: Black Americans and the End of Slavery,” which received the 2013 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work in Nonfiction. Her work has been profiled in major media outlets in the U.S., U.K. and Europe. 

In 2017, the Association of Black Women Historians awarded Krauthamer the Lorraine A. Williams Leadership Award in recognition of both her scholarship and her work to create opportunities for Black women in higher education.

“Dean Krauthamer has made innumerable contributions to UMass Amherst as both a preeminent scholar of slavery and emancipation in the 19th-century American South and as a talented and innovative administrator,” says Tricia Serio, UMass Amherst’s provost and senior vice chancellor for academic affairs.

“She has consistently centered diversity, equity and inclusion in her initiatives and has been an enthusiastic and effective advocate for the humanities and fine arts,” adds Serio. “She will be missed, not only for her impactful professional contributions, but also for her thoughtful and collaborative approach to our mission and deep commitment to our values.”

Looking to the future

As Krauthamer looks forward to her new role as dean of Emory College, she says her first priority will be learning more about Emory as a community and an institution. “I want to know more about where Emory has been and where it sees itself going,” she says.  

By building relationships with students, faculty and staff, Krauthamer hopes to understand their experiences and work collaboratively to strengthen both community and operations across the College so that “everyone can achieve their full potential at every level.”

“My initial impression at every step along the way is how committed everyone is to the institution and to the shared goal of advancing it,” she says. “I’ve been struck by the positive energy from everybody I've talked to. It’s really compelling and energizing to know that folks are so enthusiastic about Emory’s future and ready and eager to do the work.”

In announcing Krauthamer’s appointment, Bellamkonda expressed gratitude to both the search committee and interim dean Carla S. Freeman for their dedicated work on behalf of Emory College over the past year.

“Carla’s engaged leadership and passion for community engagement and liberal arts education have strategically positioned Emory College to continue its strong upward trajectory,” he says. “I look forward to her continued contributions as she takes on a new role as director of the Bill and Carol Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry.”

Bellamkonda also commended the Emory College Dean Search Advisory Committee, which he co-chaired along with John Lysaker, William R. Kenan Professor of Philosophy.

“Dr. Krauthamer was a leading candidate at every step of the review process,” Lysaker says. “The committee was impressed by her scholarly credentials, her ability to work creatively with multiple areas of research and performance, her feel and care for student life, her longstanding support of DEI initiatives and her personable, attentive manner.

“Going in, I hoped we could agree on someone who could listen and lead. That's Dr. Krauthamer. This is an exciting time to be at Emory, and it just got more exciting.” 

Meet the new dean: Read more about Barbara Krauthamer

Recent News