Jeffrey Spencer Shoulson selected as next dean of School of Arts and Sciences

Jeffrey ShoulsonPhoto/courtesy, University of Connecticut

Jeffrey Spencer Shoulson

Jeffrey Spencer Shoulson, a scholar of English and Jewish literature and current senior vice provost at the University of Connecticut, has been selected as the next dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Brandeis.

"Jeffrey Shoulson's exceptional leadership, scholarship, and commitment to collaboration make him the ideal candidate for this important role,” said Brandeis president Ron Liebowitz. “I am confident that he will advance our unique position in higher education and work successfully with faculty and staff from across the university to help us meet our high aspirations. I thank the search committee for their tireless work in finding the right person to lead the School of Arts and Sciences into the future."

Shoulson has served as senior vice provost for academic affairs at the University of Connecticut since 2020, where he supervised academic program development, review, assessment, and accreditation across all of the university's schools and colleges. Shoulson has also worked with academic units in development of entrepreneurial and interdisciplinary programs, managed curricular standards and adjudicated appeals, and administered the promotion, tenure, and reappointment processes across the institution.

As dean, Shoulson will serve as the chief academic and administrative officer of the School of Arts and Sciences, providing leadership in advancing the mission, operations, and service of the school by advocating for and executing its educational and research missions. He will be responsible for academic, development and administrative functions, and oversee faculty appointments, reappointments, tenure, and promotion processes. The dean also has administrative responsibility for graduate and undergraduate education and research functions in the School of Arts and Sciences, working in collaboration with the provost. He will report to provost Carol Fierke.

“Jeffrey Shoulson's academic record and administrative experience are both extensive and impressive,” Fierke said. “I'm looking forward to working with him to further advance our mission of providing exceptional education, scholarship and research opportunities for our students and faculty across the humanities, arts, social science and science. I thank the search committee chairs, Harleen Singh and Isaac Krauss,  staff support by Lorna Laurent, all of the members of the search committee and the entire community for working together to successfully identify and recruit Jeffrey Shoulson as dean.”

Shoulson’s appointment begins August 1. He succeeds Dorothy Hodgson, who served as dean since 2018 and will step down at the end of June. Joel Christensen, professor of classical studies, has agreed to serve as interim dean during the month of July. Shoulson’s selection concludes a year-long search.

"Brandeis has a rich history rooted in values of intellectual curiosity and community engagement,” Shoulson said. “I am honored to be selected as the next dean of arts and sciences, and I am committed to upholding these values as we foster a vibrant academic community that supports our faculty and prepares our students to become engaged citizens of the world."

Before moving into the provost's office at UConn, Shoulson was director of the university’s Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life, and was the Doris and Simon Konover Chair in Jewish Studies. He was professor of literatures, cultures, and languages, and professor of English, and had affiliations with the medieval studies program and the Middle East studies program. He was previously on the faculty at the University of Miami, where he also served as director of Judaic studies.

Shoulson has authored three books: "Fictions of Conversion: Jews, Christians, and Cultures of Change in Early Modern England" in 2013, "Hebraica Veritas? Christian Hebraists, Jews, and the Study of Judaism in Early Modern Europe" in 2004, and "Milton and the Rabbis: Hebraism, Hellenism, and Christianity" in 2001.

He received a PhD in English literature from Yale University in 1995, a master's degree in philosophy from the University of Cambridge in renaissance studies in 1990, and bachelor's degree in English literature from Princeton University in 1988. 

Prior to his appointment as vice provost for academic affairs at UConn, Shoulson served as vice provost for academic operations from 2018 to 2020, and as vice provost for interdisciplinary affairs in 2017-18.

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