Frank Wolf

Frank Wolf is Dean Emeritus of the School of Professional Studies.  A graduate of Williams College, Wolf holds a second bachelor’s degree from Worcester College, Oxford, and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Columbia University (1971). He served on the faculty at Drew University in Madison, NJ (1969-78) before returning to Columbia in 1979 as Associate Dean of the School of General Studies (1979–1995), where he served as well as Acting Dean (1992–1994). 

In 1995 General Studies was divided into two units, and Wolf was appointed Dean of what was initially called the “Division of Special Programs.”  Under Wolf’s leadership the unit was first renamed “Continuing Education,” and in 2002, became the School of Continuing Education, with authority to grant the Master of Science degree.  As founding dean, he put in place six applied M.S. programs before retiring in 2006 when he was named Dean Emeritus.

While at Columbia, Wolf taught undergraduate courses in Political Science.  He also served as the director of Columbia’s overseas programs: most notably, the undergraduate program at Reid Hall in Paris, and later the programs in Berlin, Kyoto, Beijing, and Shanghai.  He was also responsible for the creation of eight Liberal Studies M.A. programs, now administered by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.  Finally, he was the Arts and Sciences Dean in charge of language instruction from 1993 until his retirement, and served as Columbia’s representative to the Consortium for Language Learning and Teaching during those years.

Upon his retirement in 2006 he joined the Thomas J. Watson Foundation as Director of the Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship (, a mentoring and professional development program working with undergraduates in New York City colleges. He retired from the Watson Foundation in 2012 to take up the position of Executive Director of the Child Welfare Fund where he served until June, 2021 (

He has also been active as a volunteer in the world of social services. From 1988-96 he was a paraprofessional social worker at the Gay Men’s Health Crisis working with people with AIDS. He was a member of the Board of Directors of Urban Pathways (2006-13), a homeless services organization which works principally to support and ultimately to house the formerly chronically homeless in New York City.  He currently serves as one of five elected Trustees of the incorporated Village of Saltaire, NY.

Last updated April 18, 2023