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Matthew Auer, Indiana University honors dean, named Bates College vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty

Matthew R. Auer becomes dean of the faculty and vice president of academic affairs at Bates on July 1.

Matthew R. Auer becomes vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty at Bates on July 1. Photograph by Kendall Reeves.

Bates President A. Clayton Spencer announced today that Matthew R. Auer will become dean of the faculty and vice president of academic affairs, effective July 1.

Auer, dean of the Hutton Honors College and professor of public and environmental affairs at Indiana University, succeeds Pamela J. Baker ’69, Helen A. Papaioanou Professor of Biological Sciences and longtime faculty leader at Bates.

“Matthew Auer is a leading scholar and globally engaged expert in the arenas of environmental policy, energy policy, sustainable development and foreign aid,” Spencer said, in announcing the appointment. “He is also a dynamic and effective academic leader who has focused his energies on improving programs for undergraduates at Indiana University, first as director of undergraduate programs in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, and for the past five years as dean of the Hutton Honors College. I am so pleased that we have found a scholar, teacher and collaborative leader of Matt’s stature to lead our faculty in this time of great challenge and promise in higher education.”

“The curriculum’s academic rigor is legendary and its action-oriented, self-reflective approach to experiential learning is path-breaking,” Auer said.

“I am thrilled and honored to join Bates,” said Auer. “Bates has been on my radar screen for years. The faculty of talented teacher-scholars is dedicated to the personal and intellectual development of the college’s diverse student population. The curriculum’s academic rigor is legendary and its action-oriented, self-reflective approach to experiential learning is path-breaking. Bates’ faculty enters a period of major generational renewal in the short years ahead even as higher education is transformed by new technological, pedagogical and curricular innovations. It’s an exciting time to lead the faculty, and I can’t wait to get to work.”

Auer has authored or co-authored more than 50 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on environmental policy. His paper, “Communication and Competition in Environmental Studies,” published in Policy Sciences in 2010, earned the Harold D. Lasswell award for best article in that journal. His edited 2004 volume Restoring Cursed Earth: Appraising Environmental Policy Reforms in Eastern Europe and Russia was nominated for the International Studies Association’s Sprout Award for best book in global environmental studies. Auer has taught since 1996 at Indiana University, where he has earned numerous teaching awards, including IU’s highest honor for instruction, the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Auer has served in a variety of public policy roles at national and international levels. He was senior adviser to the U.S. Forest Service from 2001 to 2006, and during that time was a member of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations Forum on Forests and to the International Tropical Timber Council. For more than 20 years he has developed, implemented and evaluated energy and environmental aid programs for the U.S. Agency for International Development and for foreign aid agencies in, among other countries, Mexico, Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile, the Dominican Republic, Estonia, Poland, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Laos, Vietnam and Thailand.

Auer has raised academic standards in the honors college and aligned the college’s course offerings with the university’s revamped general education requirements.

At Indiana University’s Hutton Honors College, which offers a rigorous academic experience for undergraduates within the larger research university, Auer leads a staff of 19 professionals. He is the college’s principal recruiter of faculty who teach hundreds of honors courses in various units at IU. He has raised academic standards in the honors college and aligned the college’s course offerings with the university’s revamped general education requirements. Auer has also raised resources for study abroad programs and helped develop an undergraduate research scholarship program at IU.

Auer received a doctorate in forestry and environmental studies from Yale University in 1996. His other academic degrees include an M.S. (1994) and M.Phil. (1993) from Yale, a master’s from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University (1990) and an A.B. magna cum laude in anthropology from Harvard University (1988).

Auer’s appointment culminates a national search carried out by a search advisory committee composed of faculty, staff and the president. The search included visits to campus by finalists, who spoke in large forums and small meetings about their research interests, administrative experience and vision. Auer’s visit received an overwhelmingly positive response from the Bates community.

“I am grateful to Pam Baker for her leadership of the Bates faculty and her partnership during my first year at Bates,” said Spencer. “I am also grateful to the faculty and staff who worked with such dedication on this search, and whose vision for the college has led us to this outstanding appointment.”

Auer will come to Bates with his wife Anne and their 12-year-old twins.



2 Responses to “Matthew Auer, Indiana University honors dean, named Bates College vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty”

  1. Fred Schultz says:

    Matt Auer brings a brilliant mind and a sense of perspective to everything he does. Bates is gaining a leader who truly enjoys people, different perspectives, and a good laugh. What makes Matt unique is that his genius is only matched by his sense of humor. He is a joy to be around. We will miss him in Bloomington. Congratulations to my friend and to Bates.

  2. Trish Morse says:

    Dear President Spencer,
    What a wonderful appointment you, the Bates Faculty and the Search Committee have made for Bates! The background of this new leader will bring new ideas, new approaches and bring together the important group, the Bates Faculty, to attain new heights for the students. This builds on the superb leadership of Jill Reich and Pam Baker in keeping Bates on the cutting edge of appropriate learning environments. There are some moments when I would like to be back on the active and caring Board of Trustees – and then others, that enjoying retirement watching whales and eagles is a good place to be in my life. Your activities continue to open my will to give and excitement to support this wonderful college. Best wishes to your lively team!!! Warm wishes to you all, Trish

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