ALEXANDER BROWN/THE HOYA Carol Lancaster, pictured at commencement last May, is stepping down as dean of the School of Foreign Service to recover from a brain tumor.
Carol Lancaster, pictured at commencement last May, is stepping down as dean of the School of Foreign Service to recover from a brain tumor.

Carol Lancaster (SFS ’64) has stepped down as dean of the School of Foreign Service, as announced in an April 2 email to the Georgetown community from University President John J. DeGioia. SFS Acting Dean James Reardon-Anderson will remain in place until Lancaster’s replacement is announced in fall 2015.

Lancaster took a leave of absence in late November after being diagnosed with a brain tumor. Georgetown University Medical Center doctors removed the mass December 2.

“Carol has decided now to step down as Dean to devote her full attention to her recovery,” DeGioia wrote.

Lancaster will assume the position of dean emerita and will serve as an SFS professor upon her return to campus, the time of which is yet undetermined.

According to Reardon-Anderson, who has served as the SFS acting dean since November, Lancaster submitted her resignation to DeGioia “in the past few weeks.”

“In terms of returning to professor, that would really depend on the pace of the recovery,” Reardon-Anderson said. “She’s effectively resigned as dean, and she has been named emerita. Instead, there’s an acting dean, and I will be the acting dean until the new dean is in place.”

Reardon-Anderson estimated that Lancaster’s permanent replacement would take office in summer 2015, when her term was scheduled to end. A search committee convened by the president will most likely assemble this spring and organize during the summer, with a formal announcement of her replacement made in the fall. The search process will take six to nine months, with formal recommendations most likely forthcoming in spring 2015.

For now, Reardon-Anderson’s focus lies in shepherding Lancaster’s projects forward.

“All of the things she started are now well underway,” he said. “While she was dean, I was the senior associate dean, so I worked quite closely with her, so I was quite familiar with all her goals and plans. Taking temporary responsibility was very easy. I have been seeing her on a fairly regular basis and reporting to her.”

Lancaster, one of the first female SFS graduates, returned to the university as a professor in 1981, after earning a masters and doctorate at the London School of Economics and stints in the State Department and the United States Agency for International Development. At Georgetown, she served as a professor of politics, the director of the African Studies Program, the director of the Master of Foreign Service Program and the director of the Mortara Center for International Studies, before assuming the deanship in 2010, after serving as interim dean the previous year.

During her tenure, Lancaster oversaw the addition of the Global Human Development and Asian Studies masters programs, as well as the establishment of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security.

“She’s just been a huge asset to the university,” Reardon-Anderson said. “She’s really served the school and the university in many different ways.”

The SFS Dean’s Office spearheaded a drive for well wishes in December, following Lancaster’s surgery, with a digital card. In his email, DeGioia thanked Lancaster for her service and anticipated her return. Provost Robert Groves also expressed admiration for Lancaster.

“When I arrived at Georgetown last year as a new provost, Carol Lancaster welcomed me with genuine support. Over the early weeks, I learned how devoted she was to building a strong SFS and how committed she was to Georgetown,” Groves wrote in an email. “I look forward to her return as a colleague and thank her for her service.”

Similarly, BMW Center for German and European Studies Director and SFS Faculty Chair Jeffrey Anderson described Lancaster’s commitment to the school.

“I started as Faculty Chair this past summer, so I was able to work with her closely, and I’ve known her for over a decade. It has always been a pleasure and honor to work with Carol, and she did the impossible, balancing the needs of the provosts above her and the faculty under her charge,” Anderson said. “Her vision as a leader to build upon our solid foundations at SFS, and her ability to resist the temptation to start from scratch was very impressive.”

SFS Academic Council President Kyle Zhu (SFS ’14) highlighted his appreciation for Lancaster’s dedication to students.

“Dean Lancaster was really caring about finding out the student perspective on a lot of issues and she was really proactive in making sure she got basically the full support of the vote of students. With Dean Lancaster, we built a really good relationship between the Academic Council and the Dean’s Office,” Zhu said.

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