Announcing our next dean of the college and provost

To the Williams community,

I am pleased to announce our next dean of the college and provost.

Gretchen Long, the Frederick Rudolph ’42 – Class of 1965 Professor of American Culture, will serve as the next dean of the college, while Eiko Maruko Siniawer ’97, the Class of 1955 Memorial Professor of History and Chair of Asian Studies, will serve as provost, both starting their three-year terms on July 1, 2022.

I selected Gretchen and Eiko from among a list of strong candidates developed by the Faculty Steering Committee (FSC). The FSC had solicited nominations from other faculty and consulted with the Williams Staff Committee and the WSU about qualities to look for in both searches. I also sought similar input from Senior Staff and from senior leadership in the offices of the provost and dean of the college, and the WSU shared their thoughts with me on that same topic. My thanks go out to everyone who contributed and helped us get to this outcome.

Gretchen Long joined the Department of History in 2003, arriving here as she completed her Ph.D. at the University of Chicago. Since then she has also held an array of leadership roles, many involving close work with students in ways that bridge the educational and co-curricular domains and contribute to our work on inclusion. She directed the Williams-Exeter Programme at Oxford from 2016 to 2018; served several terms as faculty director of the Summer Humanities and Social Sciences Program; was faculty fellow in the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; and has been involved with our Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship program. She chaired the college’s Honor and Discipline Committee for multiple terms, was chair of Africana Studies from 2012 to 2014, and has served on the advisory committee of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program.

A historian and scholar of race and medicine, Gretchen is author of Doctoring Freedom: The Politics of African American Medical Care in Slavery and Emancipation (University of North Carolina Press, 2012), and a variety of influential articles and papers. Among the many courses she has taught at Williams are Let Freedom Ring?: African American Emancipation; Black Women in the United States; and the tutorial Fictions of African American History.

Numerous organizations and foundations have supported and recognized her work, including the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Abolition, and Resistance; the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Newberry Library, as well as our own Oakley Center.

Eiko Maruko Siniawer, too, joined our History faculty in 2003, returning after completing her Ph.D. at Harvard to the same Williams department where she had once majored as an undergraduate. She now chairs the Program in Asian Studies and is serving her latest of two terms as chair of the Committee on Priorities and Resources. Eiko was a key member of the search committee that led to the hiring of Mike Wagner as our new Vice President for Finance and Operations, and has been involved in the management of college finances and resources via the Ad Hoc Committee on Financial Planning; and the Ad Hoc Real Estate Working Group. She has also chaired the Ad Hoc Committee on the Evaluation of Teaching, the Department of History and the Faculty Steering Committee.

A scholar of modern Japan, Eiko is the author of Waste: Consuming Postwar Japan; and Ruffians, Yakuza, Nationalists: The Violent Politics of Modern Japan, 1860-1960, which were published by Cornell University Press in 2018 and 2008, respectively. She is currently finishing a book manuscript about the history of Tokyo. Her articles have appeared in the American Historical Review, Journal of Asian Studies, Journal of Social History and Modern Asian Studies. And she has earned fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies and the National Endowment for the Humanities, among others. Her classes at Williams include Modern Japan; The History of Panics; and the advanced research seminar The Many Lives of Tokyo.

In assuming their new roles, Gretchen and Eiko will succeed Marlene Sandstrom and Dukes Love, who have both served on Senior Staff for six hard but extremely influential and often joyful years. Marlene and Dukes have made major contributions in their respective areas, and we’ll celebrate them both when they reach the end of their terms this spring. For now, I’ll only say that my sense of loss at their departure is mingled with appreciation for what they have achieved, and excitement to welcome Gretchen and Eiko, so that we can extend our history of outstanding college leadership coming from inside the faculty ranks.

Please join me in congratulating Gretchen and Eiko, and in supporting them as they prepare for the transition into their new roles.