This article originally appeared in UChicago News on March 29, 2017.
Anne Walters Robertson, the Claire Dux Swift Distinguished Service Professor of Music and the Humanities in the College, has been appointed dean of the Division of the Humanities. President Robert J. Zimmer and Provost Daniel Diermeier announced the appointment, which will begin April 1, 2017. Robertson has served as interim dean since July 2016.
In announcing the appointment, Zimmer and Diermeier wrote that Robertson has provided “vital leadership and sustained the momentum of the Division of the Humanities. We are confident that Anne will be an excellent leader for the Division of the Humanities in the years to come.”
Robertson joined the University in the Department of Music in 1984. She has held several leadership positions at the University, including serving as deputy provost for research and education and chair of the Music Department, in addition to external leadership roles, including her service as president of the American Musicological Society from 2011 to 2012.
“It has been a privilege working alongside students and faculty in the Division of the Humanities for over 30 years,” Robertson said. “And it is an honor to now serve as its dean and continue the academic advancement of the humanities.”
Robertson’s research is focused on the music of the Middle Ages and the interactions of liturgical and secular music. Her particular concentration is on 15th-century sacred polyphony, the 14th-century French composer Guillaume de Machaut, French medieval liturgical music, ceremony and architecture, and music and mysticism. Her books include The Service-Books of the Royal Abbey of Saint Denis: Images of Ritual and Music in the Middle Ages, which earned the John Nicholas Brown Prize of the Medieval Academy of America, and Guillaume de Machaut and Reims: Context and Meaning in His Musical Works, which won the Otto Kinkeldey Award of the American Musicological Society.
Robertson is the first scholar to win all three awards of the Medieval Academy of America: the Haskins Medal (2006), the John Nicholas Brown Prize (1995) and the Van Courtlandt Elliott Prize (1987). In 2008, she was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and in 2015 became a member of the American Philosophical Society. She holds a PhD from Yale University.
During Robertson’s tenure as interim dean, the College has announced several new curricular initiatives in the Humanities, including the Signature Courses and the Course Cluster initiatives, a new undergraduate major in creative writing and a new Humanities Core sequence exploring poetry.
The selection of the new dean of humanities by Zimmer and Diermeier was informed by an elected faculty search committee, chaired by Bill Brown, the Karla Scherer Distinguished Service Professor in American Culture.