News | Administration

Who runs Columbia: Find out who is large and in charge

Though at this point the most powerful person you’ve met at Columbia is probably your RA, there are, in fact, many people you haven’t met--or perhaps have never heard of--who make the daily decisions that govern this University.

Columbia University President: Lee Bollinger

Serving as the 19th president of Columbia University for the past seven years, University President Lee Bollinger (often referred to as “Prezbo”) acts as the University’s chief executive officer and is thus responsible for the continued success of Columbia and its students. Bollinger has the final say in the University’s most important decisions, such as the appointment of administrators. Formerly the president of the University of Michigan, Bollinger now resides at 116th Street and Morningside, and is often seen walking to and from his home there.

Dean of Columbia College: Michele Moody-Adams

Formerly the vice provost for undergraduate education and professor at Cornell, newly appointed Michele Moody-Adams, who succeeds former dean Austin Quigley, is the first woman and first African American to hold the top post at Columbia College. Moody-Adams, a Chicago native, also holds the new title of vice president for undergraduate education and plans to teach in the philosophy department. Members of the committee that chose her in February cited her ability to bridge the worlds of academia and student affairs administration as one of her most appealing credentials.

Dean of SEAS: Feniosky Pena-Mora

Affectionately called “Feni” by Bollinger, Feniosky Pena-Mora was appointed to the position of dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences in April after a two-year search. Since then, local Spanish periodicals have hailed him as a hero. Formerly the associate provost at the University of Illinois, Pena-Mora is known for his work in the field of disaster recovery. He has emphasized that in his new role he plans to focus on interdisciplinary in the applied sciences, the role of engineers as leaders, and the importance of the Core in ensuring the “synergy of various parts of the University.”

Dean of Academic Affairs: Kathryn Yatrakis

Once a political science professor at Barnard College for 12 years, Kathryn Yatrakis now holds the position of dean of academic affairs and is responsible for all aspects of the academic program of the college along with supporting the work of the faculty. In this role she oversees major advising and has taken strides to implement improvements to the advising system based on students’ responses to advising surveys.

Dean of Student Affairs: Kevin Shollenberger

In his new post as dean of student affairs, Shollenberger supervises the Division for Student Affairs for CC and SEAS and works in coordination with the School of General Studies and Barnard College, which have their own student-affairs offices. Before becoming dean, Shollenberger was associate dean of student affairs for nine years and is known for his work in bolstering the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Office of Student Group Advising.

Dean of the School of General Studies: Peter Awn

A renowned professor of Islam and comparative religion at Columbia for over 30 years and the director of the Middle East Institute, Awn has a long history as a faculty member and administrator at Columbia. He has lectured widely to academic and business professionals on the role the Islamic religion plays in the development of the modern Arab world. Awn was also the first recipient of the Phillip and Ruth Hettleman Award for distinguished teaching and research.

Barnard College President: Debora Spar

Inaugurated last November as Barnard’s seventh president, the former professor of business administration at the Harvard Business School succeeds Judith Shapiro, who retired after a tenure of 14 years. Spar has stated her intentions to broaden Barnard’s presence abroad, increase faculty research support, and further student leadership initiatives. Spar also created a working group on financial aid and hired directors of financial aid and career development in her first year as president.

Barnard College Dean of Students: Dorothy Denburg

A life-long Barnardian, Denburg, BC ’70 has been overseeing student services—including health, athletics, and staffing—from the dean’s office since 1993. In conversations, she often cites her long history at Barnard, including a stint on the Barnard’s Honor Board. She was her class’s president in the Student Government Association, Barnard’s student government.


Plain text

  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Your username will not be displayed if checked
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.
menckenlite posted on

Davis says, University President Lee Bollinger is "responsible for the continued success of Columbia and its students." Do students play any role in their own success? What about those low profile department chairmen? Do they or the lowly faculty members have any role in success of students?

Anonymous posted on

Peter Awn is Dean of the School of General Studies.

universitycitizen posted on

This is nonsense. GS is one of the four undergraduate schools that make up Columbia's undergrad program. They aren't given a mention. Nice. Also, these are the people who run the ACADEMIC side of columbia. The administrative side certainly have the power of the purse and the rudder when it comes to ACTUAL power. But something tells me these details will be lost on this author.