Norman Fainstein

Norman Fainstein

Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Urban Studies
President Emeritus

Joined Connecticut College: 2001-2009

B.S., Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Norman Fainstein is an internationally recognized scholar in urban studies. He has published several books and many chapters and scholarly articles in the areas of urban sociology and politics, planning and development, public policy, race and social movements. He was a founding editor of Ethnic and Racial Studies, served on the boards of several other journals, and is a frequent referee of scholarly work. His current research interests include metropolitan and regional policy, suburbia in Europe and North America, and the political evaluation of urban development.

Professor Fainstein joined the Connecticut College community in 2001 as its ninth president. He served in that position for five years and then returned to the faculty. While on sabbatical leave in 2006-07, Professor Fainstein was a visiting scholar at the Kennedy School and at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he was president in residence during the fall of 2006. In the spring of 2007 he held a Rockefeller Foundation fellowship as a resident of the Bellagio Study Center. During his presidency he regularly taught a course in urban sociology and history. In the fall of 2007 he became chair of the Sociology Department and taught courses in urban sociology and sociological theory, as well as a freshman seminar on suburbia. In academic year 2008, he continued teaching in urban and theory, and led an advanced seminar in the spring of 2009 in American Society and Politics (cross-listed with American Studies.)

As an administrator, Professor Fainstein held a number of senior posts and leadership positions. Prior to his presidency of the College, Professor Fainstein was the Dean of the Faculty (provost) at Vassar College. Earlier he was Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Baruch College (City University of New York). He was also a leader in higher education more generally, serving as a founder of the National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education, as a member of the American Council of Education Commission on International Education, and on the Executive Board of the Council on Library and Information Resources. Locally, he also served as a trustee of The Williams School and of the Lyman Allyn Art Museum, both in New London.

Professor Fainstein received a Ph.D. (1971) with highest distinction in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he held NSF, Woodrow Wilson and Stouffer Fellowships, the latter at the MIT-Harvard Joint Center for Urban Studies. As an undergraduate he concentrated in physics and majored in political science at MIT, where he was awarded a B.S. in 1966.

View Majoring in Sociology.

Contact Norman Fainstein

Mailing Address

Norman Fainstein
Connecticut College
270 Mohegan Ave.
New London, CT 06320