Cara Cilano Named Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education

Dr. Cara Cilano has been appointed Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education for the College of Arts & Letters, effective July 1, 2019.

Cilano has served as Chair of MSU’s Department of English since July 1, 2016. She also is a Big Ten Academic Leadership Program Fellow (2018-19), an intensive program that develops the leadership and managerial skills of faculty who have demonstrated exceptional ability and academic promise.

Cilano chaired a committee that devised outcomes and a rubric for the College’s new experiential education graduation requirement, implemented in Fall 2018, as well as the subsequent implementation taskforce that proposed a process for the review and approval of courses to fulfill that requirement.

“For more than a decade, my interest in promoting undergraduate education has animated my participation in shared governance and faculty leadership. This role in the College of Arts & Letters allows me to contribute directly to the academic experiences of all MSU undergraduates,” Cilano said. “I feel fortunate to represent the work and commitment my faculty and staff colleagues give to our undergraduate mission and to the greater public good we help sustain.”

I feel fortunate to represent the work and commitment my faculty and staff colleagues give to our undergraduate mission and to the greater public good we help sustain.

Dr. Cara Cilano

The Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education will have oversight of all activities in the College of Arts & Letters involving academic undergraduate affairs, including budget, student affairs, advising, study abroad, experiential learning, all matters involving curriculum, new undergraduate initiatives, interdisciplinary majors, and directing the Center for Integrative Studies in the Arts and Humanities.

Working together with the Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Education, Assistant Director of Integrated Arts and Humanities, Director of the Excel Network, Director of the Citizen Scholars program, and other team members, the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education will work to advance excellence in undergraduate education and to further undergraduate student success within the College and the University.  

Prior to Michigan State University, Cilano served as a member of the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) English faculty from 2001 to 2016 and has been a full professor since 2011.

AT UNCW, she was a member and later chair of the faculty committee responsible for the complete overhaul of the general education curriculum. In that role, Cilano worked with department, college, and university curriculum committees, as well as with the full faculty governance body, to create a four-year program that engaged all majors. She later was selected as UNCW’s founding Director of General Education.

“My administrative responsibilities at UNCW entailed collaborating broadly across units in both Academic and Student Affairs, all in service of our students’ success,” Cilano said. “That work also allowed me to collaborate with assessment experts to devise and support an effective assessment protocol, and to study and implement practices to maximize equity and access.”

Since joining the faculty at MSU as Chair of the Department of English, [Dr. Cilano] has been an engaged advocate and leader who is deeply committed to our priorities of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Christopher P. Long, Dean of The College of Arts & Letters 

Cilano is two-time Fulbright recipient. She was a Fulbright Visiting Professor of Cultural Studies at Karl Franzens University, Graz, Austria, in spring 2014 and a Fulbright Lecturer at Yanka Kupala University, Grodno, Belarus, in spring 2007. She’s also a two-time recipient of the American Institute of Pakistan Studies Travel Grant.

Cilano is the author of three books on Pakistani literature and has edited a collection of essays on literary representations of September 11, 2001, from outside the United States. She’s also published 17 journal articles and book chapters.

For her research, she was awarded a $1 million U.S. Department of State University Partnerships grant (2014-2016) to link UNCW with the International Islamic University in Islamabad, Pakistan. 

“I am pleased to appoint Dr. Cilano as Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education,” said Christopher P. Long, Dean of the College of Arts & Letters. “Since joining the faculty at MSU as Chair of the Department of English, she has been an engaged advocate and leader who is deeply committed to our priorities of diversity, equity, and inclusion. She has a proven record of outstanding undergraduate leadership nationally and led general education reform at UNC Wilmington.”

Cilano has a Ph.D. in English from Duquesne University as well as master’s and bachelor’s degrees in English, both from St. Bonaventure University.