Alexander Sens will serve as interim dean of the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences as Georgetown University continues to search for a new permanent dean.
Sens serves as the Markos and Eleni Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis chair of Hellenic studies in the classics department and senior associate dean for program development in the graduate school, according to a Jan. 28 universitywide email from University President John J. DeGioia (CAS ’79, GRD ’95) announcing Sens’ appointment. Sens will replace former Dean Noberto Grzywacz, who announced Nov. 22 he would step down to serve as provost and chief academic officer at Loyola University in Chicago.
As interim dean, Sens will continue Gryzywacz’s work building the emphasis on interdisciplinary study within the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, he said in an interview with The Hoya.
“My predecessor really made wonderful advances for the graduate school in creating a number of new programs and working toward creating a school identity as the home of these interdisciplinary programs,” Sens said. “I am excited to work across the university to bring together the humanities, social sciences and the sciences in new ways.”
Under Gryzwacz’s leadership, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences established a number of new interdisciplinary programs, including the Master of Science in data science for public policy, which uses data to inform public policy education, and the Master of Science in health and the public interest, which aims to prepare students to solve global health care problems.
Sens hopes to create more interdisciplinary opportunities for students interested in humanities, he said.
“One of the challenges for me, over the years, has been to learn about quantitative and scientific fields,” Sens said. “The graduate school has an interdisciplinary mission, to create and support new programs that are going to address major social problems, and it has been a fact that those programs have largely focused around the sciences. So, I’m hoping that I will be able to enhance the role of the humanities in those interdisciplinary programs in the graduate school.”
Sens has also served as chair of the university’s Committee on Rank and Tenure and chair of the classics department. While chair of the classics department, Sens established a post-baccalaureate program for students studying Latin and Greek, according to DeGioia’s email.
Sens will bring the same dedication he displayed in the classics department to his role as interim dean, according to classics department Chair Josiah Osgood.
“Dr. Alexander Sens is a world-renowned researcher in the field of ancient Greek literature. He is also a highly-experienced administrator at Georgetown who has worked tirelessly to foster faculty research and enhance student opportunities for learning,” Osgood wrote in an email to The Hoya. “As department chair of Classics, he grew the program, in part by adding a post-bac degree, and he enhanced our profile. I am sure he will bring the same vision and passion to the Graduate School.”
Sens has already demonstrated a strong leadership ability in his previous roles at the university, DeGioia wrote.
“Alex has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to strengthening our University, working closely with faculty and leadership across our University to design and launch interdisciplinary Master’s programs,” DeGioia wrote in the Jan. 28 email.
In 2017, Sens received the President’s Award for Distinguished Scholar-Teachers, which recognizes faculty members for outstanding research and excellence in teaching.
Sens welcomes the opportunity to serve the university in a new capacity, he said.
“Everything I do at Georgetown is really animated by my love of teaching and my love of scholarship,” Sens said. “So, while I think that the time in this position will obviously take balancing with my previous academic work, everything that I’m going to do here is really about supporting research and supporting students.”