Aaron Lorenz to Be New SSHS Dean

Photo courtesy of Aaron Lorenz

Professor Aaron Lorenz will step into Samuel Rosenberg’s position as dean of the School of Social Science and Human Services, effective July 1. Lorenz is an associate professor of law and society and has been a member of the Ramapo community since 2007.

Rosenberg has been the dean of SSHS for eight years, and had decided to step down to make time to pursue his research and work on writing the third edition of his book, “Community Mental Health: Challenges for the 21st Century.”

The search committee tasked with finding the new SSHS dean first looked internally to find a fitting replacement. The two frontrunners from the Ramapo community were Michael Edelstein, a professor and the director of the Institute of Environmental Studies, and Lorenz. An email from President Mercer was sent out last Tuesday announcing Lorenz as the new SSHS dean.

“Our current dean, Dean Rosenberg, has been in this position for eight years and the school has really grown,” said Lorenz. “Now seems like a wonderful time for me to step in and follow in his footsteps and really just look at students and parents and faculty and staff and the administration, get everyone involved, to realize Ramapo’s potential. This is our time to use the things that seem to be going on in higher education to our advantage.”

The selection process involved submitting an application and cover letter to the office of the Provost, doing an interview with the search committee, giving presentations to the SSHS faculty and then to the entire College and finally having an interview with the Provost. The search committee didn’t have to look farther than the Ramapo faculty to fill the position. Lorenz aims to increase experiential learning within SSHS as the new dean.

“I would like to formalize our field studies and field work internship programs across the College so that students have more experiential learning and some of that hands on experience, so they can realize what they’re getting themselves into in the field of their study,” he said.

Lorenz also hopes to formalize the process of students and faculty working together on research projects, as it is this type of learning, according to Lorenz, that will increase students’ ability to get into graduate schools or obtain jobs after college.

“One of the things that faculty do across Ramapo really well is work with students on detailed research that is ultimately presented at a conference, and I would like to formalize that a bit more,” he continued. “One of the things that we see with students who are looking for jobs or looking for admittance into graduate school is that they don’t have that research experience, and it’s the perfect time for us to be able to blend those two things. I want to be able to have faculty work with students on writing papers, on making presentations, on writing chapters of books, going through data, whatever it is.”

Lorenz will be taking a break from teaching classes to focus on transitioning into the dean position, but there is potential for him to be back in the classroom after a few years.

“I really want to spend as much time as I can to focus on this position,” Lorenz said. “There are nuances to it that I want to learn about and I want to be able to be dedicated to the job and not teach, but I’ve been teaching for almost 20 years and teaching is the reason why we all got into this field, so it’s going to be a transition that I’m going to have to get used to, and I’m certainly going to miss seeing the students in the classroom, in that capacity. I suspect that I’ll be back in the classroom, but it may be a year or two before I make that time.”