Robert Belknap

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Robert L. Belknap MA '54 PhD '60 is a Professor of Slavic Languages, and was briefly Acting Dean of Columbia College in 1976.

He has taught Literature Humanities since 1957, and his commitment to the Core Curriculum extends far beyond the classroom: he has chaired the Literature Humanities program on several occasions, chaired the Committee on Educational Policy (the Belknap Committee) in 1970 and co-authored (with Richard Kuhns) Tradition and Innovation. General Education and the Reintegration of the University: A Columbia Report (1970). In 1976, during his acting deanship Belknap published a full-page essay in the Spec titled "Some Multifaceted Reflections on the College." Gems from this essay include: "Urban students should live in a certain amount of anxiety and a certain amount of dirt"; "[s]ince seven years ago.... our residence halls have brightened greatly... we have exchanged a substantial number of rooms for rooms at Barnard, and—all sexism aside—women are a civilizing force in our midst."[1]

Professor Belknap received the Award for Distinguished Service to the Core Curriculum in 2000-2001. More recently, he has been active in the revival of the Linguistics Program. He received the Great Teacher Award in 2010.

Preceded by
Peter Pouncey
Acting Dean of Columbia College 
Succeeded by
Arnold Collery