Rachel Bean

Rachel Bean

Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences
Jacob Gould Schurman Professor of Astronomy


As the leader of the largest and most academically diverse college at Cornell, she is responsible for an institution with 520 professorial faculty, 400 academic professionals and staff, 4600 undergraduates and 1300 graduate students. The College offers 40 undergraduate majors and 35 graduate fields, and boasts a network of over 65,000 alumni.

Before serving as Interim Dean, Rachel served as the Senior Associate Dean for Science and Math and, prior to that, as the Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education, overseeing admissions, advising, career development and registrar services, and the undergraduate curriculum. She has also served as the chair of the Faculty Diversity Committee and the chair of the Data Science Curriculum Committee in the College of Arts of Sciences, following which she spearheaded the introduction of a university-wide undergraduate minor in data science.

Rachel’s research is in the field of cosmology, the study of how the universe began and evolved into what we see today. Her work focuses on extracting information about cosmological theories, deciphering the properties of matter and gravity on cosmic scales and the physics of the early universe, using astrophysical observations of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) and galaxies (large-scale structure).

She is involved in a number of astronomical experiments. These include the science teams for large-scale structure experiments: the Vera Rubin Telescope (LSST), the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) and the NASA science teams for the Euclid and Roman Space Telescope missions. She is also involved in CMB/sub-millimeter experiments, including the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACT), the Simons Observatory, CMB-S4 and the Cornell-led Fred Young Submillimeter Telescope (FYST).

She served as the collaboration leader for the LSST Dark Energy Science Collaboration, an international collaboration of over 500 scientists, and as a member of the U.S. Astronomy and Astrophysics Advisory Council (AAAC), that advises NSF, NASA and the DOE on areas of mutual interest/concern.

Rachel is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, a recipient of a Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering (PECASE), from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and a Cottrell Scholar Award, for excellence in research and teaching. As a member of the NASA Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) science team, she was a co-recipient of the 2012 Gruber Prize and the 2018 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics.

Rachel has been a faculty member in the Department of Astronomy at Cornell since 2005. Prior to that, she was a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University. She received a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in theoretical physics from Imperial College London and a B.A. Hons. in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University.

Michelle Smith

Michelle Smith

Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education


Michelle Smith is a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. As Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education for the College of Arts & Sciences, Smith oversees the undergraduate student services spanning admissions, advising, and career development. She also provides oversight of the College’s undergraduate curriculum and serves as liaison to the university on the College’s undergraduate program.

Smith works in the field of discipline-based education research, which emphasizes teaching and learning in specific disciplines at the undergraduate level. Her work focuses on helping instructors identify concepts that are difficult to learn in biology courses, designing undergraduate biology curriculum materials, measuring what aspects of active learning make it an effective instructional tool, and determining how instructors can help students with the transition between high school and college STEM courses.

Brian Crane

Brian Crane

Interim Senior Associate Dean for Math and Science
George W. and Grace L. Todd Professor


Brian Crane is the George W. and Grace L. Todd Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology. As Interim Senior Associate Dean in the College of Arts & Sciences, Crane oversees the physical and life sciences and mathematics disciplines, several interdisciplinary programs and the Diversity Council; serves as liaison to the university’s inter-college labs and science centers; and provides oversight for research funding in the College.

The Crane group studies structure, function and mechanism of protein systems that underlie signal transduction. Of particular emphasis are processes mediated by redox and photochemistry and those dependent on highly cooperative macromolecular assemblies. Projects include understanding circadian clock light sensors, bacterial transmembrane signaling, nitric oxide enzymology and general aspects of protein electron transfer.

Patrizia McBride

Patrizia McBride

Senior Associate Dean for Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Programs
Frank H.T. Rhodes Professor of Humane Letters


Patrizia C. McBride is the Frank H.T. Rhodes Professor of Humane Letters in the Department of German Studies.

McBride’s research spans German-language literature and culture from the eighteenth to the twentieth century, focusing especially on theories of modernity and modernism, the intersection of aesthetics, philosophy, and political theory, and visual and media studies. Her scholarship revolves around three main themes: the development of narrative within literary and visual media; the ways in which the reflection on art and society in the twentieth century contributed to the politicized practice of the avant-garde; and the increasing concern, in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, with understanding how literature and the arts are shaped by their material media.

Derk Pereboom

Derk Pereboom

Senior Associate Dean for Arts and Humanities
Susan Linn Sage Professor of Philosophy and Ethics


Derk Pereboom is the Susan Linn Sage Professor of Philosophy and Ethics in the Department of Philosophy at Cornell. As Senior Associate Dean for the Arts and Humanities, he oversees departments and programs in the arts and humanities, the J.S. Knight Institute for Writing in the Disciplines, and the Harrison College Scholar Program.

Pereboom’s research focuses primarily on free will and the nature of mind. In his books Living without Free Will (Cambridge 2001) and Free Will, Agency, and Meaning in Life (Oxford 2014) Pereboom defends and develops Spinoza’s view that we lack the sort of free will at issue in the traditional debate, but that this does not threaten the most important features of morality and meaning in life, and has the potential to enhance social harmony. In Consciousness and the Prospects of Physicalism (Oxford 2011), he sets out and explores two options for naturalist accounts of consciousness, each inspired by ideas proposed by Kant. Pereboom is deeply committed to graduate and undergraduate education, and he is the recipient of several teaching awards.

Senior Staff

Position Name Contact
Associate Dean of Administration Warren Petrofsky 607-255-1097
Associate Dean for Alumni Affairs and Development Esther Feng 315-263-2757
Director of Admissions Irene Lessmeister 607-255-4833
Director of Advising Ray Kim 607-255-5004
Director of Administration/Registrar Duncan Bell 607-255-5004
Director of Career Development Jennifer Maclaughlin 607-255-4166
Assistant Dean of Communications Tricia Ritterbusch  607-255-7165
Senior Administrator to the Dean Adrienne Clay