New social sciences dean appointed

By Jennifer Bussell

John Mark Hansen will return from Harvard in July to serve as the new dean of the social sciences division. He fills the post vacated by Richard Saller who was appointed Provost on January 1.

“This is a terrific opportunity,” Hansen said. “The deanship of the social sciences division is both an exciting opportunity and a weighty responsibility. It just seemed to me that I couldn’t not do it. It’s a wonderful division in a University I love dearly.”

President Don Randel announced Friday that Hansen, the former William R. Kenan Jr. Professor in political science at the U of C, will begin a five-year term as dean. John Lucy, the acting dean of the social sciences division, will return to his position as master of the social sciences collegiate division.

“The first order of business will be getting to know people better and figuring out ways of working together so that we husband the division resources in the most worthwhile way,” Hansen said.

Hansen has served as a professor of political science at Harvard University for the past year. He is a scholar of American politics whose research focuses on public opinion, public budgeting, and politicians’ inferences from the outcomes of elections.

“It’s a wonderful University,” Hansen said. “It about killed me to leave it last year. It’s wonderful to be coming back. It’s wonderful to be in a position to serve a place that I think is really very special.”

He joined the University faculty in 1986 as assistant professor in political science, was appointed associate professor in 1992 and professor in political science in 1994. Hansen held the chair in the political science department from 1995-1998, and was associate provost for education and research during that time.

“[The social sciences division] is a faculty that goes from the most mathematical of the social sciences to the parts of the social sciences that look a lot like the humanities,” Hansen said. “Knowing the faculty is one of the things that’s high on my list.”

Research on interest groups, citizen activism, and public opinion led to Hansen’s two books, Mobilization, Participation and Democracy in America (1993) with Steven Rosenstone and Gaining Access: Congress and the Farm Lobby, 1919-1981 (1991).

Hansen received the Heinz Eulau Award from the American Political Science Association for the Best Article Published in the American Political Science Review in 1998. He received the Outstanding Book Award from the National Conference of Black Political Scientists for Mobilization, Participation and Democracy in America in 1995.

Hansen received a B.A. from the University of Kansas in 1981 and an M. Phil. and a Ph.D. from Yale University in 1983 and 1987, respectively.

The social sciences division consists of the departments of anthropology, economics, history, political science, psychology, and sociology as well as several committees and the social sciences collegiate division.