Tulane's School of Liberal Arts is proud to welcome Brian T. Edwards as our new dean. Edwards joins Tulane after eighteen years at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, with a strong focus on advancing the School of Liberal Arts’ mission, amplifying the school’s research profile, and building its interdisciplinary programs on campus and around the globe.
Edwards most recently served as the Crown Professor in Middle East Studies and professor of English and comparative literary studies at Northwestern. During his time at Northwestern, he founded and directed the Middle East and North African Studies (MENA) program, which grew from a small, faculty working group to an internationally recognized program. He was also core faculty in comparative literary studies, international studies, and American studies, and was a faculty affiliate of African studies, screen cultures, rhetoric and public culture, and the Buffett Institute for Global Studies.
Edwards received his bachelor’s degree in English from Yale University in 1990, as well as his master’s degree, a master of philosophy degree, and in 1998 his Ph.D., all in American studies. As a scholar, his books, edited collections, and articles have engaged fields from literary studies to cultural anthropology, and history to digital media studies. He also has published Op-Eds and essays in a range of mainstream publications including Salon, The Believer, and The Chronicle of Higher Education.
As Edwards begins as dean, he sees exciting opportunities. “I was immediately impressed by the range of departments in the humanities, social sciences, and fine arts, and the ways in which ambitious faculty had come together to build dynamic interdisciplinary programs,” he said. “One can feel the energy and enthusiasm.”
Beginning his tenure at Tulane, Edwards has also appointed two new associate deans. In her role as Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs, Professor Holly Flora will broadly oversee all aspects relating to the professional life of liberal arts faculty, including overseeing faculty committees, mentoring, and professional development, as well as other projects and initiatives. Professor in the Department of Communication, Vicki Mayer will serve as Associate Dean for Academic Initiatives and Curriculum, for which she will oversee all aspects relating to academic strategy and curriculum as well as summer and international programs, and will work with Edwards to develop new interdisciplinary and cross-school programs and partnerships on campus and internationally.
“I am tremendously excited to move to New Orleans, at once both a unique and essential American city and a cosmopolitan, global port connected to the world. Tulane’s connection to New Orleans is profound, and I look forward to building on that historical relationship while working with our great faculty, students, and alumni to explore new intellectual avenues and pathways as SLA commences its next chapter,” said Edwards.
Welcome, Dean Edwards!