Susan Ohmer, the University of Notre Dame’s William T. and Helen Kuhn Carey Associate Professor of Modern Communication and chair of the Committee on Women Faculty and Students, has been appointed assistant provost, effective Aug. 1.
Ohmer’s responsibilities will include coordinating efforts to recruit and retain women faculty, oversight of the Hesburgh Library and Notre Dame Press, and serving as the provost’s liaison to the Early Childhood Development Center (ECDC).
“Susan is a highly regarded teacher and scholar who has been involved in and often a leader of many campus committees and activities associated with gender issues and other issues of vital importance to the University,” Provost Thomas G. Burish said. “She is tireless in her commitment and insightful in her analyses. I am most grateful that she has agreed to take on these new responsibilities.”
Since 2007, Ohmer has led the Committee on Women Faculty and Students, which considers policies, practices and general environment of the University as they relate to women faculty and students and last year prepared a lengthy report on issues relating to the recruitment and retention of women faculty.
“We were asked to take this on by an administration interested in the views and concerns of women faculty,” Ohmer said. “President Jenkins and Provost Burish issued a formal response to the report, and (Vice President and Associate Provost) Don Pope-Davis and I have been working with that over the summer to create an action plan. I want to continue moving forward because I want the faculty to know that the provost’s office cares about their concerns.”
Ohmer first became involved in the provost’s office as a Provost’s Fellow, an initiative that allows selected faculty to attend provost staff meetings and take on special projects.
“The Provost’s Fellow initiative is a tremendous opportunity,” Ohmer said. “You get to be involved in interesting projects and get a sense of the administration on a different level.”
A member of the Notre Dame faculty since 1998, Ohmer previously taught at the College of Staten Island and the University of Michigan. She teaches courses in film and television in U.S. culture, and her research focuses on the industrial history of media organizations. Currently, Ohmer is examining the Walt Disney studio in the early 1940s and how it moved from being a cartoon producer to a multi-media empire. Her forthcoming book, tentatively titled “The Organization Mouse,” details Disney’s internal business strategies during this period.
Ohmer’s research has appeared in such journals as The Quarterly Review of Film and Video, The Journal of Film and Video and Film History and in the anthologies “Identifying Hollywood’s Audiences,” “Global Currents,” and “American Cinema of the 1930s.” Her book “George Gallup in Hollywood” assesses how film studios and producers used public opinion research to select and develop film subjects. Ohmer has served as a member of the editorial board of Cinema Journal and an officer of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies and also serves as academic advisor to the Notre Dame Debate Team.