Susan Smulyan Appointed as New Center Director

February 26, 2014

Reproducing below a February 13, 2014 announcement from Brown's Provost, Mark Schlissel.  Effective July 1, 2014, Prof. Susan Smulyan of the department of American studies will become the next director of the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage, succeeding Steve Lubar, who is concluding his second five-year term as Director in June of 2014.  Steve writes: "It has been a great pleasure to serve as director for two five-year terms, and I'm looking forward both to continuing to work with the Center and the public humanities MA program, and also to having more time for my own research and outreach projects. I have enjoyed working with all of you, and I look forward to continuing to do that, and to working with Susan as she guides the Center into a very promising future."   

Dear Colleagues,

I write to announce the appointment of Professor Susan Smulyan to succeed Professor Steven Lubar as director of the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage.

 Over the past decade, under Steve's leadership, the Center for Public Humanities has established itself as a major center for training the next generation of professionals working in institutions that bridge humanities scholarship and public engagement.  In addition to its unique MA program, the Center has supported the work of faculty and students; collaborated with other departments and Centers; developed numerous projects, exhibitions, and other activities to foster public engagement with arts and culture; and served as a resource for the staffs of cultural organizations in the region and beyond.  While there will be other occasions in the coming months to give Steve due recognition, I will take this opportunity to thank him for his service and all he has accomplished for the University.

A member of the American Studies faculty since 1988, Susan is a twentieth-century cultural historian with special emphasis on popular culture. In addition to the three books she has written or edited, her interest in the public presentation of scholarly work has been manifested in several digital projects and also in the development of school curricula.  Her work has been supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Park Service, the National Science Foundation, and the Smithsonian Institution. She has rendered service to the campus in multiple ways including as chair of her department, and was a key contributor to establishing JNBC in its current form. Susan has also been active outside the University, and currently chairs the board of New Urban Arts, a noted Rhode Island youth mentoring program.  

Susan is thus ideally positioned to carry the work of the Center for Public Humanities forward in conjunction with the objectives of Brown's new strategic plan.  I am delighted that she has agreed to take up this post when Steve steps down on June 30, though regret that working with her must be left to my own successor.  

Please join me in congratulating both Steve and Susan.

Mark S. Schlissel
Professor of Biology


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