College Welcomes New Vice Deans, Faculty

Georgetown College Dean Christopher Celenza introduced the College's three new Vice Deans at a ceremony last Thursday.
Georgetown College Dean Christopher Celenza introduces Vice Deans Elena Silva, David Edelstein, and Deborah Phillips (sitting, left to right). (Photo: Kuna Malik Hamad/Georgetown College)

September 8, 2017 — Georgetown College Dean Christopher Celenza announced the appointment of three new Vice Deans to his staff and welcomed new College tenure-line faculty members at a meeting on Thursday evening in the Gonda Theatre at the Davis Performing Arts Center.

Vice Deans David Edelstein, Deborah Phillips and Elena Silva bring academic experience from a broad range of disciplines and valuable administrative skills to the College Dean’s Office. Celenza expects his new team of vice deans to serve as invaluable advisors on faculty affairs.

David Edelstein is an associate professor in the College’s Department of Government and in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. He is a specialist in international security, U.S. foreign policy, and the study of military occupation. Edelstein published Occupational Hazards: Why Military Occupations Succeed or Fail in 2008. He earned his B.A. from Colgate University and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, and has completed pre- and post-doctoral fellowships at Stanford and Harvard University.

In his new role, Edelstein will liaise between the Dean’s Office and the College’s academic departments in the humanities and social sciences.

Deborah Phillips is a professor in the Department of Psychology. An expert in early childhood development, she has researched extensively the effects of early childhood education programs and served on task forces and advisory boards on the subject. Her prominent roles include Executive Director of the Board of Children, Youth and Families at the National Research Council, President of the Foundation for Child Development, and Director of Child Care Information Services at the National Association for the Education of Young Children. She earned her B.A. from Stanford University and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Yale University.

Phillips’ portfolio will include all the College’s academic departments involved in the natural sciences, as well as departments in the Faculty of Languages and Linguistics.

Elena Silva is a professor in the Department of Biology, where she currently serves as Chair.  She is the principal investigator at Georgetown’s Silva Casey lab, which studies various aspects of the central nervous systems of the frog Xenopus laevis and the acorn worm Saccoglossus kowalevski in an effort to better understand gene regulation in early nervous system development. In addition to her research accomplishments in the field of embryonic nervous system biology, she has taken an active role in building the Department of Biology’s graduate program. Silva earned her B.S. and Ph.D. from Stanford University.

Silva’s role at the Dean’s Office, which will begin on October 1, will build on her accomplishments in the Department of Biology: She will be charged with strengthening the relationships between the university’s graduate programs — many of which are housed in College academic departments — and the College’s administration.

"I am delighted that these three fine scholars and pillars of the Georgetown community, all of whom have had meaningful administrative experience, are part of the Dean’s Office staff in Georgetown College," Celenza said. "Their expertise, innovative thinking and energy will allow us to be responsive to the challenges that come our way and, importantly, proactive in creating new opportunities across our 26 departments and 11 interdisciplinary programs. We will be working together as a team, and all of our work will be buttressed by our shared commitment to encouraging excellence, fostering success, and nourishing diversity at every level of activity in which Georgetown College engages."

Following the introduction of the Vice Deans, the Chairs of the College’s departments were introduced and they introduced their new tenure line faculty members. Celenza hopes to make the welcoming of new faculty to the College an annual tradition.

— Patrick Curran