Censer Named Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences

Posted: November 21, 2005 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Stephanie Hay

Jack Censer
Jack Censer

Provost Peter Stearns has announced that Jack Censer, chair of the Department of History and Art History, will be the dean of the new College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences (CLAHS).

Censer’s three-year term will officially begin July 1, 2006, but he will begin immediately participating in decisions and policies affecting CLAHS.

In an e-mail announcing the appointment, Stearns thanked the search committee, chaired by Gary Galluzzo, College of Education and Human Development, and said, “I am delighted at the prospect of working with Jack Censer on the varied challenges and opportunities associated with the new college. We hope and expect that, three years from now, the college’s vibrancy and sense of purpose, in teaching and research focused on the varied aspects of the human condition, will constitute one of the leading strengths of George Mason University.”

“This is an incredible collection of units that need to find a new identity,” says Censer. “I think the Shared Values Report did first-rate intellectual work on the focus of this new college being the human circumstance, both societal and individual.

“Specifically, we need to understand the current set of obligations that face us today amid issues like a globalized economy, vague political threats from elsewhere and the breakdown of familial norms. The college can be and should be focused on everything from deep roots understanding and intellectual sources of these problems to actual application – from philosophy through administration of justice. Linking the intellectual and practical is the focus. That’s goal enough for any college.”

Censer says perfecting intellectual and teaching skills as scholars, building more doctoral programs, cultivating more undergraduate research and generating funded and nonfunded research will enhance CLAHS.

“We should provide tools to students through demonstrable leadership. We want to produce leaders by virtue of a skill set and deep, applicable knowledge,” he says.

Censer, who received his PhD from Johns Hopkins, has been a Mason faculty member since 1977 and chair of History and Art History for 11 years. “I’ve loved my job,” he says. “The people in History and Art History are great people to work with, and we’ve accomplished so much as a team.”

Some of those accomplishments include the growth of the Center for History and New Media, the development of a PhD program in history and the current consideration of an MA in art history program.

“The main thing I learned as chair is successful team building and consensus building that can be applied to a large unit like History and Art History, and I’m hoping to propagate that in the new college. As dean, I plan to organize the energies of the college, not direct those energies.”

Censer’s publications include “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity: Exploring the French Revolution,” a general study of the French Revolution he authored with Lynn Hunt. He is also the author of “The French Press in the Age of Enlightenment,” “Prelude to Power: The Parisian Radical Press, 1789-91” and many articles on the history of French periodicals of the 18th century. He teaches the French Revolution, the social and cultural history of Europe and the history of the family.

A search for a new chair of the Department of History and Art History is under way.

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