On June 1, John Corvino officially became dean of Wayne State University’s Irvin D. Reid Honors College. He succeeds Dean Jerry Herron, who has led the Honors College since its founding in 2008.
“I am excited to begin this new role, having enjoyed working with our Honors students in many classes during my two decades at Wayne State,” Corvino said. “I am deeply humbled to follow founding Dean Jerry Herron, who has built a fantastic college worthy of the exceptional students it serves.”
Corvino arrived at Wayne State as a lecturer in 1998, earning tenure in 2007 and becoming full professor in 2015. He holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Texas-Austin and a bachelor's from St. John’s University (New York), whose own honors program he credits for an excellent educational foundation.
“After a number of discussions with several faculty candidates and discussions with leadership from around the university, John Corvino was clearly the best candidate for this challenging role,” said Wayne State Provost Keith Whitfield.
Much of Corvino's research aims to build bridges on controversial “culture war” issues regarding sexuality and marriage. He is the author of numerous articles, as well as three books from Oxford University Press: Debating Same-Sex Marriage (with Maggie Gallagher, 2012), What’s Wrong with Homosexuality? (2013), and Debating Religious Liberty and Discrimination (with Ryan T. Anderson and Sherif Girgis, 2017).
Corvino is the recipient of several teaching awards, including the Wayne State President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and a 2012 Distinguished Professor of the Year Award from the Presidents Council, State Universities of Michigan. In 2012, he became chair of the Wayne State philosophy department, where he focused on building and strengthening ties with other university departments and reforming undergraduate and graduate program curricula.
He also continues to be active as a “public philosopher,” having spoken at more than 250 campuses around the country and the globe. As dean, he plans to emphasize academic excellence while continuing the college’s tradition of community engagement.
“My scholarly work has largely focused on trying to create better, more productive conversations in the culture wars, and that’s something I plan to continue in this new role as dean,” Corvino said. “Think about some of the challenges that face our city: What do we do about the growing divide between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’? How do we address racial, religious and cultural strife? How do we ensure just allocation of resources?
“These are not just questions for Detroit, but for our nation — indeed, for our globe,” he said. “I think Wayne State is well situated to be a leader in these conversations, given our vibrant urban location, our diverse population and our superb faculty and students.”