Issue Date: 
July 11, 2016

N. John Cooper, the Bettye J. and Ralph E. Bailey Dean of the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, has announced he will step down as dean and return to Pitt’s Department of Chemistry as a faculty member in fall 2017.

N. John Cooper

“It has been a privilege to help our remarkable faculty and students achieve their ambitious goals over the past 18 years, but it is time to turn to some of my other scholarly interests,” Cooper said. 

In accepting Cooper’s resignation as dean, Patricia E. Beeson, Pitt provost and senior vice chancellor, said, “John is an exceptional dean who has led the Arts and Sciences through a period of unparalleled progress. He brought to the position an extraordinary breadth of knowledge, an ability to recognize talent, and a commitment to the liberal arts that helped shape a remarkable faculty and the education of tens of thousands of students across the University. It has been my honor and pleasure to work with John.”

Cooper assumed the deanship on July 1, 1998, succeeding Peter F. M. Koehler, who had held the position since 1986. 

Under Cooper’s leadership, the Dietrich School has strengthened the University’s liberal arts core. With 42 academic departments and programs, the school educates approximately 10,000 undergraduate and 1,500 graduate students each year. During his 18 years as Dietrich School dean, Cooper has overseen the graduation of more than 45,000 Pitt students. 

Throughout his deanship, Cooper emphasized the development of a strong and diverse faculty. More than 70 percent of the Dietrich School’s current faculty have been recruited by Cooper. Additionally, the hiring of faculty members from underrepresented populations increased 30 percent and the number of women rose nearly 50 percent.

A cumulative $1 billion of funded research has been conducted at the Dietrich School during Cooper’s tenure. 

He played an important role in raising more than $260 million in private funding for the school, which has resulted in the establishment of nearly 250 endowed funds, including seven chairs, 14 fellowships, 29 awards, and 98 scholarships. Some funding has also helped to modernize University facilities, with an emphasis on sustainable building design and construction.

A search committee will be formed this fall to choose Cooper’s successor.


Edward M. Stricker, dean of the University Honors College since the summer of 2011, plans to resign the deanship and return to the Department of Neuroscience faculty in fall 2017.

Edward M. Stricker“The University Honors College embodies the ideals of research and scholarship as well as that of excellence inside and outside the classroom, library, and laboratory. It has been a great privilege for me to be a part of this remarkable organization,” said Stricker. “I look forward to returning to the Department of Neuroscience, where I will continue to teach and generally help students reach their fullest potential and thereby advance the mission of the University of Pittsburgh.”

Stricker has worked to increase the breadth of the Honors College. Among his numerous accomplishments is the creation of the Health Professions Advising program, which helps undergraduates explore their interests in the health sciences and professional schools. Another program begun during Stricker’s tenure is Academic Community Engagement Advising, which assists students in connecting their academic interests with opportunities to positively impact local communities.

In addition, Stricker has been active in supporting Pitt students in their pursuit of competitive and distinguished scholarships and fellowships. Since 2011, Pitt students have won a Rhodes, a Harry S. Truman, a Winston Churchill, four Morris K. and Stewart L. Udall, 14 Barry M. Goldwater, and 18 David L. Boren Scholarships as well as more than 55 Fulbright U.S. Student Program Grants.

“It has been my pleasure to work with Dean Stricker, both in his role as dean and in his participation in the activities of our Council of Deans. His impact on the growth of the Honors College and the entire University through his role on the Council of Deans cannot be overstated. I am pleased that he will continue his academic career here at Pitt for the foreseeable future,” said Patricia E. Beeson, Pitt provost and senior vice chancellor.

During his 45 years as a Pitt professor, Stricker has played an influential role in developing the University’s nationally recognized neuroscience program. He served as the founding chair of the department from 1986 to 2002, and was codirector of Pitt’s Center for Neuroscience.

A search committee will be formed this fall to choose Stricker’s successor.