Associate Vice Chancellor for Research—Humanities and Arts

August 30, 2018

Dear Colleagues,

I am delighted to announce the appointment of Dr. Henry Turner as the inaugural Associate Vice Chancellor for Research in the Humanities and Arts at Rutgers University–New Brunswick.

A professor of English and director of the university’s Center for Cultural Analysis, Dr. Turner will lead the efforts of my office to strengthen and support the university’s tradition of excellence in the humanities and the arts while promoting their integrative aspects across many fields and disciplines. He will work closely with the leadership and faculty of the School of Arts and Sciences, the Mason Gross School of the Arts, and research centers and institutes throughout Rutgers.

The impetus for this vital new position was the 2014 Rutgers University Strategic Plan, which made an explicit commitment to elevating the stature of the humanities, including graduate education, faculty recruitment and development, and collaboration with the New Jersey community colleges. At the same time, the university’s expanding portfolio of medicine, engineering, communication and information, business, public policy, and environmental and biological sciences creates new opportunities for extending the humanities and the arts across knowledge frontiers.

Dr. Turner will establish teams to identify emerging areas of inquiry and incubate the new institutional forms that can support them, especially in the areas of medical, digital, environmental, and public humanities. Working with SAS and the School of Graduate Studies, he will also assess challenges in graduate education and explore ways to promote innovative approaches to graduate professional training that can extend beyond the university into the public. By sponsoring lectures, conversations, and symposia at Rutgers as well as in the greater New Jersey-New York area, the Associate Vice Chancellor will build bridges between the humanities, arts, humanistic social sciences, and natural sciences.

Dr. Turner brings more than two decades of humanities scholarship that weave together the enduring questions of literature, art, history, and philosophy with the conceptual richness of science, technology, and mathematics. He is the author or editor of five books, co-edits the book series “Penn Studies in Literature and Science” at Penn Press, and has chaired the Modern Language Association (MLA) Division Committee on Literature and Science. His research has been supported by a Fellowship for University Teachers from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the M. H. Abrams Fellowship from the National Humanities Center, and a Frederick Burkhardt Fellowship from the American Council for Learned Societies, while at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard.

Rutgers has a longstanding tradition of distinction in the humanities and the arts, ranging from philosophy, literature, history, and race and gender studies to theater, film, digital design, and visual arts. The President’s Humanities Task Force Report declares: “The humanities are the foundation of any great university. Without them, an institution can be a venue of specialized training but never an institution of learning in its highest and richest sense.”

We look forward to new initiatives by the Associate Vice Chancellor for Research in the Humanities and the Arts at Rutgers–New Brunswick in undertaking this vital work, and we invite Rutgers faculty to contribute to these new collaborative efforts as they advance.

Please join me in welcoming Dr. Turner to this new role.


Prabhas V. Moghe
Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation