Gretchen Ritter ’83, professor of government, has been appointed executive dean and vice provost of the Ohio State University College of Arts and Sciences. The appointment, effective Aug. 1, 2019, is for a five-year term.
Ohio State’s College of Arts and Sciences is the largest of its colleges, with 38 academic departments and schools and more than 20 centers and institutes, with more than 17,000 undergraduate students, 2,600 graduate students and nearly 1,400 faculty.
At Cornell, Ritter served as the Harold Tanner Dean of Arts and Sciences from 2013 to 2018 and was the College of Arts and Sciences’ first female dean. She previously served as vice provost and professor of government at the University of Texas at Austin. She has also taught at MIT, Princeton and Harvard.
“It’s been an honor and privilege to serve as the dean and a faculty member in arts and sciences at Cornell. I am grateful for all of the wonderful friends and colleagues I’ve been able to work with over these past six years,” said Ritter. “I’m excited by the opportunity to join Ohio State and am looking forward to working with the college leadership, faculty and staff to build on the college’s strengths.”
As dean of Cornell’s College of Arts and Sciences, Ritter emphasized a renewed commitment to undergraduate education that embraced engaged learning models and incorporated emerging technologies and experiential learning. Ritter also prioritized efforts to improve both external and internal communications, and she oversaw the most successful annual fund in the history of the college. Her achievements included bringing Klarman Hall to completion as a home for the humanities, overseeing a review of the undergraduate curriculum of Arts and Sciences, restructuring of the college’s advising and admissions offices, establishing the Milstein Program in Technology and Humanities, and overseeing a period of extraordinary hiring in the college in the face of budget challenges.
In appreciation for her contributions, more than 55 members of the Arts & Sciences Advisory Council, alumni and friends of the college, as well as current and former senior associate deans and other staff, who have worked closely with Ritter, contributed $634,000 in gifts to create the Gretchen Ritter ‘83 First Generation Scholarship fund.
“I am passionate about the importance of public higher education and deeply committed to the mission of the arts and sciences,” Ritter has said.
A leading expert in history of women's constitutional rights and contemporary issues concerning democracy and citizenship in American politics, Ritter received her bachelor’s degree in government from Cornell and a doctorate in political science from MIT. She is the author of “The Constitution as Social Design: Gender and Civic Membership in the American Constitutional Order” and “Goldbugs and Greenbacks: The Antimonopoly Tradition and the Politics of Finance in America, 1865–1896” and co-edited “Democratization in America: A Comparative and Historical Perspective.”
She is the recipient of several fellowships and awards, including a National Endowment for Humanities Fellowship, the Radcliffe Research Partnership Award, and a Liberal Arts Fellowship at Harvard Law School.