Brandeis Alumni, Family and Friends

Rutgers Professor Dorothy L. Hodgson Named Dean of Arts and Sciences

May 29, 2018

Hodgson will undertake her new role at Brandeis on Aug. 20, succeeding Susan J. Birren, professor of neurobiology, who is stepping down as arts and sciences dean on June 30. Birren, who became dean in 2011, will return to the Brandeis faculty to continue her research and teaching after a yearlong sabbatical.

As senior associate dean at Rutgers, Hodgson was part of the graduate school’s leadership team, which oversaw more than 150 research-based doctoral, master’s and dual-degree programs enrolling more than 5,200 graduate students working with 2,660 graduate faculty across eight schools. 

As dean at Brandeis’ College of Arts and Sciences, which includes 4,400 undergraduate and graduate students, and more than 430 faculty, Hodgson will oversee undergraduate admissions, the undergraduate and graduate curricula, faculty, staffing, the oversight of academic departments, and other academic matters, including the implementation of recently updated general education requirements.

“Dorothy Hodgson is a highly respected scholar and an adept academic leader who understands the issues involved in running a complex academic enterprise,” said Brandeis President Ron Liebowitz. “Her experience is well-suited to leading our largest academic unit. I have every confidence she will advance the mission of the College of Arts and Sciences, and help us think through the challenges facing the arts and sciences and innovative approaches to addressing them.

“I am so grateful to Susan Birren for the outstanding leadership she has provided as dean for the past seven years, and I look forward to her returning to our faculty and her lab after a well-deserved sabbatical,” Liebowitz added.

Hodgson is the past president of the African Studies Association and has previously served as chair and graduate director of Rutgers’ Department of Anthropology, director of Rutgers’ Institute for Research on Women and president of the Association for Feminist Anthropology. She is currently editor-in-chief of the “Oxford Research Encyclopedia on African Women’s History.”

Hodgson earned her bachelor’s degree in English at the University of Virginia, and her master’s and PhD in anthropology at the University of Michigan.

“It is very exciting to be joining an institution as prestigious and innovative as Brandeis University,” said Hodgson. “Brandeis is one of the world’s top research and teaching universities, thanks in large part to its outstanding undergraduate and graduate students, breadth of scholarly research and distinguished faculty. I look forward to engaging with colleagues and students across the humanities, sciences, arts and social sciences to support Brandeis’ educational mission.”

Hodgson is a cultural and historical anthropologist who has worked in East Africa for more than 30 years, primarily among Maasai pastoralists and agro-pastoralists in Tanzania. Her research has examined such topics as gender, ethnicity, cultural politics, colonialism, nationalism, modernity, the missionary encounter, transnational organizing and the indigenous rights movement. She has authored numerous books about the intersection of gender, culture and politics in Africa.

Her work has been supported by awards from the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the Fulbright-Hays Program, the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Science Foundation, the American Philosophical Society, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the Social Science Research Council and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences.

As dean, Hodgson will report to Provost Lisa M. Lynch, the Maurice B. Hexter Professor of Social and Economic Policy.

“I am thrilled that a scholar-leader of Dr. Hodgson’s caliber will be joining Brandeis to lead the College of Arts and Sciences,” Lynch said. “I know she will bring energy, new ideas, wisdom and experience to the important work of leading this significant part of our university. At this important inflection point in our young history as a university, Dorothy brings an entrepreneurial vision for the future of the college, and a deep commitment to recruiting, retaining and nurturing faculty. She is equally committed to improving the undergraduate and graduate student experience within and outside the classroom.” 

Lynch thanked the search committee, including committee chair Jané Kondev, professor of physics.

“Dorothy Hodgson is an outstanding scholar and administrator, and has experience in leading a complex teaching and research institution,” Kondev said. “Our committee felt that she would be an excellent choice to move the College of Arts and Sciences into the future and that she will lead in a highly consultative and collaborative style.”