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College of Arts and Sciences Newsroom

Christopher Agnew appointed as new Department of History chair

By Dave Larsen

The University of Dayton College of Arts and Sciences has appointed Christopher Agnew as the new Department of History chair. Agnew, an associate professor of history and current director of the International Studies program, joined the University faculty in 2006. He will begin his new role July 1.

He succeeds Juan Santamarina, who served as Department of History chair since 2012. Over eight years, Santamarina and his faculty completed a number of significant curricular projects, expanded experiential and global learning opportunities for students, hired several new faculty members, and supported growing faculty research agendas.

“Dr. Agnew has the experience to effectively support the College’s mission to educate our students for a future that is more globally oriented and culturally inclusive,” said Jason Pierce, College dean. “He has developed courses on East Asian history; designed and proposed the Asian Studies minor; and promoted international learning by accompanying UD students to China every summer from 2013 to 2017.”

In his four years as director of the International Studies program, Agnew has overseen staff and students, and advised nearly 100 majors. Working with Shelley Inglis, director of the University of Dayton Human Rights Center, he designed and taught a new capstone course in which students respond to a charge given to them by an external partner. The first cohort provided research for a high-level United Nations-supported Global Alliance report presented in July 2019 to U.N. member states in New York City.

Agnew has a strong commitment to service to the Department of History, having served on all major committees, and twice as chair of the curriculum and assessment committees. He also has served on key College and University committees, including the Academic Affairs Committee, the Faculty Board, the University Promotion and Tenure Committee, and the Faculty Hearing Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure.

“Chris understands and supports all aspects of the department’s mission, and is himself personally very good at them — he’s an excellent teacher and a fine scholar, and has played an important role already in faculty governance in the College and University,” said Una Cadegan, professor of history, who chaired the search committee. “He’s particularly committed to helping students and faculty extend our learning and work globally.”

As chair, he plans to work with faculty to ensure that they continue to offer outstanding scholarship and service with an eye toward fiscal responsibility. In addition, given the national decline in the number of students who major in history, he thinks it is important to be proactive in implementing changes.

“One of our collective priorities should be to consider how to recraft the history major and how it is represented on campus in a way that makes it more attractive for this new generation of students,” Agnew said.

Agnew holds doctoral and master’s degrees in history from the University of Washington in Seattle. He also holds a bachelor’s in history from Linfield College in Oregon. In 2019, he published The Kongs of Qufu: The Descendants of Confucius in Late Imperial China via University of Washington Press.

Search committee members also included Department of History faculty members Dorian Borbonus, David Darrow, Bobbi Sutherland and Bill Trollinger.

For more information, please visit the Department of History website.

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