Elizabeth R. Cole will serve as interim dean of LSA


Elizabeth R. Cole, associate dean for social sciences at LSA, will serve as that University of Michigan college’s interim dean.

Her appointment, effective Sept. 1, was announced Tuesday by Martin Philbert, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.

Elizabeth Cole

Cole succeeds Andrew Martin, current dean of LSA, who has been named chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

“Professor Cole brings a strong understanding of the academic depth and breadth of the college, as well as an excellent working understanding of the college’s operations gained through her service the past four years as an associate dean,” Philbert said in authorizing the appointment.

Cole is a professor in the departments of women’s studies, psychology, and Afroamerican and African studies.

“It’s my honor to serve the college at this important transition,” Cole said. “I look forward to continuing to work with faculty, staff and students on our most exciting initiatives, including LSA’s Opportunity Hub and the implementation of our DEI plan.”

Cole has an extensive publication record with research interests in the areas of intersectionality (gender, race and class as simultaneous social identities); relationships between political attitudes and behaviors, particularly among African Americans and all women; and diverse women, body image and sexuality.

Since 2014, she has served as LSA’s associate dean for social sciences.

She began her teaching career as an assistant professor at Northeastern University in 1993, and was promoted to associate professor there before joining the U-M faculty as an associate professor, with tenure, in 2000. In 2010, Cole was promoted to professor, and chaired the Department of Women’s Studies from 2010-14.

Her research has been funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues. She is an author of many scholarly publications.

In 2016, Cole was a keynote speaker at New Horizons in Intersectionality: Research, Policy and Activism at the University of Tennessee regarding “Building Brave Spaces: Coalitions Across Differences in Social Justice Work.”

She directed the United States’ segment of the Global Feminisms Project, an interdisciplinary initiative to document the lives of the scholar-activists in the women’s movement in China, India, Poland and the United States.

Cole is a fellow of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, and will serve as its president in 2018-19.

She has received many honors in her teaching career, including the John Dewey Teaching Award from LSA in 2010, and the Honorable Advocate Award from the Disability Resource Center at Northeastern University in 1996. She also received U-M’s Academic Women’s Caucus Sarah Goddard Power Award in 2013 and Harold R. Johnson Diversity Service Award in 2018.

Cole earned a Ph.D. in personality psychology and a Master of Arts degree in clinical psychology from U-M. She also earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Boston University.


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