College appoints new dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences

NEW PALTZ — The Office of the Provost at the State University of New York at New Paltz is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. James Schiffer as the new dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Dr. James Schiffer has been appointed as the new dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. He arrives on campus this July.

Dr. Schiffer is currently professor and head of the Department of English at Northern Michigan University, a public comprehensive college located in Marquette. Previously, Dr. Schiffer was the William W. Elliott Professor of English at Hampden-Sydney College, Va., where he also served as department chair and professor of English until 2000. He will arrive on the New Paltz campus in mid-July.

Dr. Schiffer’s scholarly interest centers on Shakespearean literature. In addition to numerous articles and essays, he is editor of Shakespeare’s Sonnets: Critical Essays and is currently completing the New Variorum Edition of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.

David Lavallee, provost of the college, said, "We are very fortunate to have attracted such an experienced and dynamic individual to lead our largest academic unit on campus. Dr. Schiffer’s record of effective leadership and scholarly activities will be a great asset in continuing the trajectory for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences that Dean Gerald Benjamin has fostered."

Dr. Schiffer succeeds Gerald Benjamin, who steps down from the deanship after a 12-year run in the position. Benjamin will direct SUNY New Paltz’s newly established Center for Research, Regional Education and Outreach (CRREO) under the title of Associate Vice President for Regional Engagement.

Dr. Schiffer said that he is honored to have been selected as the new dean of the College Liberal Arts and Sciences. “During my campus visit I was very impressed by the high morale on campus and by the very fine students, staff, faculty and administrators I met,” he said. “I look forward to working with my new colleagues to build on the many existing strengths of the college. Dean Gerald Benjamin has clearly paved the way for continuing improvement.”

College President, Steven Poskanzer, said “The liberal arts are at the center of the New Paltz educational experience and it was essential that we find a talented and visionary scholar and leader to carry the school forward. James Schiffer is that person.”

For more information about the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, visit