Gabriella Scarlatta (Photo courtesy of UM-Dearborn)
By SARAH TUXBURY
As a campus professor and leader, Gabriella Scarlatta is firmly focused on UM-Dearborn — looking at how to best support her students now, while also planning for the campus’ future.
As a faculty member, the tenured Language, Culture, and Communication professor has taught Dearborn Wolverines for more than 25 years. She’s demonstrated leadership as the College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters associate dean where she has a history of creating engaging learning experiences for students and faculty. And, while acting in the interim provost role during the past year, Scarlatta prioritized the safe return-to-campus transition for the fall while simultaneously working with Chancellor Domenico Grasso on next steps for the campus’ strategic plan.
“Dr. Scarlatta has helped make significant strides with campus priorities and has ensured the Office of the Provost is a collaborative partner for the colleges and units,” Grasso said. “In short, she was the best choice to continue leading the Provost’s Office.”
Her official appointment will begin July 1, 2022, pending U-M Board of Regents approval.
When it comes to academic direction, Scarlatta said her goals include continuing the expansion of practice-based learning opportunities — that’s where they learn real problem-solving skills and students go out into the world and apply what they’ve learned in the classroom — and fostering collaboration across academic units to create new interdisciplinary programs for enhancing skills needed in a 21st-century workforce.
Scarlatta — who speaks four languages — is known for creating and promoting cultural experiences on campus too.
She’s active in the strategic planning process, previously serving on UM-Dearborn’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion working group. And her enthusiasm for teaching is apparent to students in her courses about French literature and culture, the Italian Renaissance, and early women writers. She also helped create a French Study Abroad course where she takes undergraduates on an educational excursion through France.
“I’ve always wanted my students to experience France. It’s one thing to say that the Gardens of Versailles are a work of art. It’s another thing to walk through them.”
Among faculty and staff, Scarlatta is a trusted leader who looks for collaborative opportunities.
She served as chair of the Department of Language, Culture and Communication and co-chair of the Department of Humanities, has been a member of the College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters’ Executive and Curriculum Committees, worked as a faculty representative on the Lecturers’ Employee Organization university bargaining team on multiple occasions, and was active on Faculty Senate. Her U-M accolades include the Women and Gender’s Studies Outstanding Research Award and a Council on Global Engagement honor from UM-Ann Arbor.
Scarlatta looks forward to continuing the partnership with Chancellor Grasso and university leadership, and to align our initiatives for the good of campus’ students, colleagues and community.
“I will continue working with faculty by supporting their teaching and scholarly pursuits. Our faculty work is valued and impactful, in and outside the classroom and we must provide the necessary resources to see it flourish. My team and I will focus on engaged scholarship and cross-unit collaborations,” she said. “I also look forward to continuing our collaboration with staff across campus in order to find a hybrid work schedule that maximizes professional fulfillment and work-life balance.”
Scarlatta said the campus will focus on the current initiatives in order to provide students with access to an excellent education and academic environment.
“In the next five years, I hope to gain the trust of my colleagues and students and that is also why I look forward to continuing working in collaboration with everybody on our campus.”
Starting her UM-Dearborn experience in the 1990s, Scarlatta has helped build campus to what it is today. Grasso said she also has demonstrated, through ideas and action, the ability to keep the campus’ “Mission First – People Always” philosophy top of mind when planning for the future.
“Working with undergraduates and taking part in numerous university service activities, Dr. Scarlatta’’s long career at UM-Dearborn has been marked with distinction,” Grasso said. “I look forward to continuing to partner with her, as we lead the university to new heights.”