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New Dean of the Faculty, Associate Deans Named

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    Alisa Gaunder

All are new positions

Alisa Gaunder, an award-winning professor of political science and expert on Japanese politics, has been named Dean of the Faculty at Southwestern University.

Dean of the Faculty is a new position created by President Edward Burger to provide leadership for the academic programs in the School of Fine Arts and the Divisions of the Humanities, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences. The Dean also will be involved in faculty recruitment, evaluation, promotion and development.

Gaunder will begin a three-year term as Dean of Faculty in the fall, but will begin transitioning into her new role over the summer.

Four faculty members also have been named to new Associate Dean positions:

  • Alison Kafer, associate professor of feminist studies, has been named Associate Dean of the Humanities;
  • Mark Bottorff, associate professor of physics, has been named Associate Dean of the Natural Sciences;
  • Kiyoshi Tamagawa, professor of music, has been named Associate Dean of the Sarofim School of Fine Arts; and
  • Dirk Early, professor of economics, has been named Associate Dean of the Social Sciences.

Kafer, Tamagawa and Early will serve three-year terms in their new roles and Bottorff, who is already serving as unit chair for the Division of Natural Sciences, will serve a two-year term.

Gaunder has been a member of the Southwestern faculty since 2002. She teaches courses on Japanese politics and comparative politics, and is co-coordinator of the Representing Gender Paideia Cluster. She has served as chair of the Political Science Department and  chair of International Studies program.

Her research focuses on political leadership in Japan, particularly the role of women in Japanese politics. She is the author of a 2007 book titled Political Reform in Japan: Leadership Looming Large and the editor of The Routledge Handbook of Japanese Politics, which was published in 2011. She is currently working on a textbook titled Japanese Politics and Government.

Her teaching and scholarly work have been recognized with a long list of awards and honors, including the Southwestern University Teaching Award in 2013.

“I am confident that Alisa will be a creative leader who will challenge us all to be our very best, think imaginatively and move forward wisely and collaboratively,” President Burger said in announcing her appointment.

Gaunder said she is excited about the new position because it opens up opportunities to advocate for faculty and influence development in the curriculum.  

“My hope is that this position will promote unity of purpose and vision for Southwestern as a strong liberal arts institution with an amazing community of teacher-scholars, staff and students,” she said.

Kafer has been a member of the Southwestern faculty since 2004 and was instrumental in developing Southwestern’s new interdisciplinary Paideia program.

Bottorff has been a member of the Southwestern faculty since 2002 and has previously served as chair of the Physics Department.

Tamagawa has been a member of the Southwestern faculty since 1992 and has previously served as chair of the Music Department.

Early has been a member of the Southwestern faculty since 1994 and has served two terms as associate dean of the Brown College of Arts and Sciences.