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School of Arts and Sciences

Announcing Heather Nathans as next Dean of Academic Affairs for Arts and Sciences

Dear Colleagues, 

I am happy to announce that Heather Nathans, the Nathan and Alice Gantcher Professor, Department of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies, will become our next Dean of Academic Affairs for the School of Arts and Sciences, effective September 1, 2021. 

Heather will be taking over the duties of Bárbara Brizuela, who, as you know, will be stepping down from her position as Academic Dean to become the new Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in January 2022. Bárbara will be taking a sabbatical for the Fall semester, beginning in July, so I will tend to her departments and programs over the summer months. 

As a dean of academic affairs, in addition to supervising the chairs and directors of departments and programs in her portfolio, Heather will also be responsible for our school’s faculty affairs office. This includes supervising the faculty affairs staff who manage contracts, leaves, and human resources issues. Heather will also be responsible for a couple of important upcoming projects including leading the A&S effort in accreditation and joining me and our legal colleagues in forthcoming union contract renewals. Heather will also be taking over Bárbara Brizuela’s role as one of the school’s Associate Deans of Diversity and Inclusion, and will particularly focus on the needs of our faculty and staff. Finally, it is important that we have intellectual representation in the dean’s office, and Heather will bring the perspective of the arts and humanities to our table. 

Heather Nathans joined Tufts in 2013 as a professor in the (then-named) Department of Drama and Dance. Having received her PhD from Tufts, this was a return home, after working her way up the academic ranks at University of Maryland. Her scholarship focuses on the role of race, gender, and ethnicity in American theater. She has published three books: Early American Theatre from the Revolution to Thomas Jefferson (Cambridge University Press, 2003), Slavery and Sentiment on the American Stage, 1787-1861 (Cambridge University Press, 2009), and Hideous Characters and Beautiful Pagans: Performing Jewish Identity on the Antebellum American Stage (University of Michigan Press, 2017). In addition, she has published dozens of articles in the top journals in theatre studies, as well as in prestigious edited volumes, and has received several notable fellowships (from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment of the Humanities, among others). In 2012, while she was still at Maryland, Tufts Graduate School of Arts and Sciences awarded her the Outstanding Career Achievement Award.

Heather’s service both at Tufts and in her profession has been particularly outstanding and shows her capacity to lead. Upon coming to Tufts, she immediately served a term as chair of her department and was reappointed chair in 2016 and 2019. She has served as chair of the Learning Outcomes Assessment Committee, as well as a member of the Equal Educational Opportunity Committee (EEOC), the CELT Faculty Advisory Board, and the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies advisory board. Heather has been the president of both the American Society for Theatre Research and the American Theatre and Drama Society, two of the major professional organizations in her field. She is also the editor of the Studies in Theatre History and Culture series at University of Iowa Press. While at the University of Maryland, she served as Associate Dean for Graduate Education in the College of Arts and Humanities.  

Heather’s exceptional record of service, leadership, and recognition make her a wonderful fit for the role of Dean of Academic Affairs. She has additionally proved to be a talented researcher and an exceptional teacher and colleague. My fellow deans and I look forward to working with her.

Please join me in congratulating Heather in her new role. 


James M. Glaser
Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences