Diving into Faculty Scholarship: Dr. Kate Conley

Posted on January 23, 2023

Faculty at William & Mary make global contributions with their research. In this blog series, we interview faculty with recent publications for insight into their scholarship.

We are delighted to share about the work of Kate Conley, Professor of French & Francophone Studies and Chancellor Professor of Modern Languages & Literatures, who recently co-edited So You Want to be a Dean? Pathways to Deanship.

Please describe your scholarship to someone unfamiliar with the field.
This book is about pathways to academic administration as told by fourteen deans of arts and sciences at public universities and private colleges across the United States. It describes what deans do, what kinds of projects can be pursued through administration, and what the job is like. My scholarly work focuses on the surrealist movement, starting with a book on women in surrealism, and in my contribution to this volume I write about how working on women in a male-dominated avant-garde movement turned out to be useful in my work as a dean.

Front cover of the publication "So You Want To Be A Dean"

What was the most exciting/interesting part of this project for you?
The opportunity to publish deans I have met over my 13 years as an academic administrator, in particular during my eight years as Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Sciences at William & Mary was exciting to me. This project was also a way for me to write a conclusion to my career as a dean while providing an opportunity for younger administrators to make themselves heard. I particularly enjoyed the collaborative work I did with my co-editor, Shaily Menon, in planning the volume.

Who might be interested in reading this book? 
This book is for faculty curious about academic leadership--what is it like, what is it for, who is it for, what can be done through administration? The book grew out of a panel held regularly at various professional organizations around the country to which members of the Board of the Council of Colleges of Arts & Sciences belong--including my own Modern Languages Association--as a way to answer faculty questions about how to become a dean, who should become a dean, what's the purpose of becoming a dean.

How did W&M Libraries help support your scholarship?
W&M Libraries have been indispensable to my work as a scholar-teacher through teaching and consulting opportunities and, in particular, through Interlibrary Loan.

Check out So You Want to be a Dean? from W&M Libraries!

*W&M faculty and staff who wish to be part of this series should complete the form available at https://guides.libraries.wm.edu/pubpromotion.

Blog post compiled by Liz Bellamy, Instruction & Research Librarian and librarian to Modern Languages and Literatures.

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