You are here: American University Provost Communications June 16, 2021

American University Office of the Provost

MemorandumJune 16, 2021

AU Community
Peter Starr, Acting Provost and Chief Academic Officer
Christine BN Chin, Dean of the School of International Service

I am writing to announce that Christine BN Chin has decided to conclude her tenure as dean of the School of International Service at the end of the 2021–2022 academic year. An AU alumna, Dean Chin was appointed interim dean of SIS in August 2017 and began her service as dean in June 2018. For the past four years, she has served our community with dedication, advanced our strategic goals, and focused her work on the success of students, faculty, staff, and alumni. She looks forward to rejoining the full-time faculty in SIS after a well-deserved sabbatical and to continuing the more than 60-year SIS legacy of “waging peace.”

Under Dean Chin’s leadership, SIS delivered the highest quality education, cultivated cutting edge scholarly research, and improved operations for efficiency and effectiveness. The school has undergone a budget and administrative reorganization, added the key roles of senior associate dean and associate deans for undergraduate and graduate education, established administrative clusters for master’s programs, and created processes to help SIS run more smoothly and fairly. The school also made a variety of curricular enhancements at all levels, introduced two new master’s programs (the residential MA in International Affairs and Policy Analysis and the online MS in International Affairs and Business jointly with the Kogod School of Business), and added a new specialization within the MA program in Comparative and Regional Studies that involves an immersive experience in Europe (to be followed by other regions in the world in the future). SIS also reviewed curricula and trimmed 168 course offerings to deliver more clearly sequenced and streamlined degree programs. Dean Chin recently initiated a faculty working group to explore online education options and will supervise the launch of a more flexible undergraduate degree in the near future. She is also establishing the inaugural undergraduate Abdul Aziz Said Peace Scholars program that will launch in fall 2022.

SIS is a leading institution within the AU community and around the world, welcoming global leaders and students from more than 100 countries. This past spring, SIS took AU to the #1 and #2 rankings in the country, for Boren Fellows and for combined Boren Fellows and Scholars respectively. For fall 2021, SIS is poised to bring in the largest master’s entering cohort in the school and university’s history. The school educates more than 3,000 graduate and undergraduate students annually, preparing them for impactful careers in government, non-profit organizations, business, and service.

Dean Chin worked with colleagues to revamp SIS’s overall approach to international partnerships with academic institutions focusing not only on a more robust exchange of students, but eventually of faculty and postdocs as well. She oversaw the development of a new relationship with Balsillie School of International Affairs (Toronto, Canada) that showcases SIS’s expert faculty and global network.

During her tenure, Dean Chin worked very closely with the SIS Board of Advisors and, this summer, is in the process of diversifying its membership. In addition, she has raised $15 million since 2017 (especially for student support) and built strong relationships with donors and alumni worldwide.

Dean Chin supported SIS tenure-line and term faculty in establishing new bylaws for shared governance and approved the creation of the SIS Staff Council. She recently formed a task force on research that will lead to the appointment of an SIS faculty director of research by the end of this summer.

A champion of inclusive excellence, Dean Chin reimagined the SIS Dean’s Council for Diversity and Inclusion so that its work would better serve the school and align with AU’s Inclusive Excellence Plan. Among other accomplishments, SIS is in the midst of implementing an inclusive hiring toolkit for staff and term faculty.

Dean Chin has made important contributions to the President’s Council and Deans’ Council throughout her tenure and has taken on a number of critical service roles beyond SIS. This year, she co-chaired the Task Force on Equity in Faculty Reappointment, Promotion, Tenure, and Merit along with Max Friedman and Todd Eisenstadt. She continues to serve as a member of AU’s Retention, Enrollment, and Planning Task Force, which has planned and coordinated much of the university’s response throughout the pandemic. She also co-chaired the most recent provost search and took on leadership roles related to digital strategy and international strategy during the AU strategic planning process.

Following her years as an SIS doctoral student, Dean Chin became a tenure-line member of the AU faculty in 2000. An award-winning teacher and internationally recognized scholar, she served as director of the SIS International Communication program and as executive director of AU’s Center for Teaching, Research and Learning (CTRL) prior to assuming her deanship.

In late summer, we will launch a nationwide search for the next leader of SIS. Please join me in thanking Christine for her lasting impact on our community!