back to news March 10, 2021

Dana Renga named divisional dean of arts and humanities

Executive Dean and Vice Provost Gretchen Ritter sent the following leadership announcement to Arts and Sciences faculty and staff.


Dear colleagues,

I am very pleased to share that I am appointing Dana Renga, professor and chair of the Department of French and Italian, as our new divisional dean for arts and humanities. She will begin her term July 1.

Dana has an energizing passion for the arts and humanities, and I look forward to her leadership and vision. She has a strong desire to elevate the standing of our arts and humanities departments, centers and spaces within and beyond Ohio State, expand on cross-divisional and interdisciplinary work, and advance diversity, equity, inclusion and antiracism.

An internationally recognized scholar, Dana brings tremendous leadership and service experience to her new role. As chair of French and Italian (FRIT), she has rallied the department around a shared commitment to excellence, inclusion and collaboration. For example, FRIT is now one of only 22 Centers of Excellence designated by the French Embassy, and the department has also recruited increasingly stronger and more competitive graduate students. Under Dana’s leadership, FRIT has introduced new academic programs, including interdisciplinary majors in Italian Studies and in French and Francophone Studies. The department has also seen increasing undergraduate enrollments — due in large part to popular offerings such as her Mafia Movies course.

Dana brings a valuable perspective through her own work at the intersection of humanities and arts. Her field of scholarship is Italian film and media studies, and since September 2019, she has served as co-director of the interdisciplinary Film Studies Program. Along with co-director Janet Parrott, she has helped lead the integration of Film Studies and the moving-image production major with the newly renamed Department of Theatre, Film, and Media Arts. The expanded department will soon join the School of Music in new state-of-the-art facilities in the Arts District, uniting people and communities through an evolving hub for artistic, educational, social and commercial interchange.

Dana also brings a deep commitment to and vision for inclusive excellence. The FRIT Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism Committee, created during her tenure as chair, has implemented several efforts related to antiracism training, a new culture of communication and curricular innovation. FRIT was also one of our first departments to initiate a climate survey, and it since has served as a model for other departments and units across the university seeking to create more equitable and inclusive learning and working environments.

If you have not yet had the fortune to do so, I know you will very much enjoy working with Dana.

While we look forward to Dana’s leadership, I know you will join me in sharing enormous gratitude to our colleague Peter Hahn. Peter will conclude his role as divisional dean this summer after serving an extended six-year term — before which he served for nine years as chair of the Department of History. Like many of you, I am fortunate to have benefitted from his principled leadership, deep institutional knowledge, and advocacy for the arts and humanities at Ohio State. As he returns to his faculty home in the Department of History after 15 consecutive years of administrative service, Peter has our deep thanks and appreciation.

Best wishes,
Gretchen

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