President Lee Bollinger announced the appointment of Professor Thomas Christensen as the new Interim Dean of the School of International and Public Affairs in an email earlier today.
Professor of International Relations Thomas J. Christensen will serve as Interim Dean of SIPA beginning January 1, 2022, according to an email sent to the Columbia community by President Bollinger today. Christensen became part of Columbia’s faculty in 2018, having served for fifteen years as a Professor of World Politics at Princeton University. Currently, he acts as the Director of the Columbia-Harvard China and the World Program, and chairs the Editorial Board of the Nancy B. Tucker and Warren I. Cohen Book Series on the United States in Asia.
This announcement follows the announcement in July that SIPA’s current Dean, Merit Janow, would be stepping down effective December 31, 2021, but would stay on in her role as a Professor of International Law and International Economics. In a message shared to the SIPA community, Janow said she is “grateful to Tom for his willingness to lead SIPA” and that both she and Vice Dean Wolfram Schlenker would be working with him in the next few months to ensure a smooth transition.
Christensen has been heavily involved in Chinese and East Asian foreign policy and international security. From 2006 to 2008, he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs with responsibility for relations with China, Taiwan, and Mongolia, and had previously received an award from the Department of State in 2002. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and works for the Brookings Institution as a Non-Resident Senior Scholar.
President Bollinger’s email can be found in its entirety below.
Email sent by President Lee C. Bollinger to Columbia students on Friday, October 8, 12:05 pm:
Dear fellow members of the Columbia community:
I write to announce that Thomas J. Christensen, James T. Shotwell Professor of International Relations, will serve as Interim Dean of Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs, effective January 1, 2022, following the conclusion of Merit Janow’s tenure as Dean.
Tom is one of the nation’s preeminent experts on Chinese foreign policy, East Asian international affairs, and international security. He joined Columbia in 2018, following fifteen years at Princeton University. He is Director of the Columbia-Harvard China and the World Program, which he brought to Columbia from Princeton, and is also Chair of the Editorial Board of the Nancy B. Tucker and Warren I. Cohen Book Series on the United States in Asia at Columbia University Press.
From 2006-2008, he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs with responsibility for relations with China, Taiwan, and Mongolia. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a Non-Resident Senior Scholar at the Brookings Institution. In 2002, he was presented with a Distinguished Public Service Award by the United States Department of State. He received his BA in History from Haverford College, an MA in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania, and a PhD in Political Science from Columbia University.
Tom is an admired teacher, scholar, and colleague whom we are deeply fortunate to count as a member of our community. I am very grateful to Tom for taking on this interim role.
Lee C. Bollinger
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