Art was with the College from 1970 to 2010 and served as Dean of the College from 1994 to 1999. The search committee which nominated him for that role cited Art’s “efforts to engage the faculty more deeply in the lives of our students,” his “reassuringly calm demeanor,” and a demonstrated “willingness to consult widely before making decisions.”
Art received his B.A. from SUNY Albany, his M.Phil. and Ph.D. from Yale, and his M.S.W. from the University of Connecticut School of Social Work. His teaching focused on fundamental issues of human social organization, especially freedom and justice, self-fulfillment and identity, inequality, and the definition and control of deviants.
His area of specialization was the analysis of social arrangements and how they might be transformed to be more fulfilling to participants, more effective in achieving their ends, and more democratic, just and supportive of individual freedom. A quote on his faculty profile page is very telling of the type of person and educator he was: “What better way to earn a living? Helping fine young adults develop their talents and become contributing members of society.”
Ferrari's teaching focused on fundamental issues of human social organization, especially freedom and justice, self-fulfillment and identity, inequality, and the definition and control of deviants. His classes "Deviant Behavior and Social Control," "Group Dynamics," "Social Reality, Inequality, and Power," and "Self and Society" reflected those interests.
His work explored the importance of "community" in grounding human identity and how social changes modify the human experience of self. These and related issues were explored in his most recent research conducted on neighborhood organizations in Siena, Italy, and in a social change organization in Rome.
He was the founding director of the College’s High School Student Advancement Program, which sought to increase the diversity of college applicants, for which he received numerous awards and grants. He served as chair of the Sociology Department and as a member of the Faculty Steering and Conference Committee.
Ferrari participated in national conferences and presented numerous papers, including "Revising the At-Risk Concept" at the 1993 National Conference on Racial and Ethnic Relations in American Higher Education, "Expanding the Minority Student Pool of College Applicants," a case study of the High School Student Advancement Program (HSSAP) at Connecticut College at the American Association of Higher Education Conference in 1991, and "Introducing Minority High School Students to the College Environment" at the College Board National Forum "Reaching Each Student" in 1990.
Ferrari's publications included "Social Complexity, Threat, Ego Defenses and Labeling the Other a Deviant: A 'Racial' Incident in the Development of a Small Group" (1990) in Small Group Research and "Psychotherapy as an Educational Process" (1989) in Clinical Social Work Journal.
His public-spirited efforts expanded beyond the College as well. Art was the co-facilitator of a forum that formulated a plan to increase educational quality and diversity in a region covering 26 Connecticut towns and school districts. He directed the United Way's Community Needs Assessments of 1993 and 1994, served two terms as a member of its Board of Directors, and served on the Board of Fellows of the Lyman Allyn Art Museum.
Art is survived by his wife Alida and son Adam ’91.