In Summer 2016, Professor of Russian History Eric Lohr took over the reins as Chair of the Department of History. He follows in the footsteps of Professor Pam Nadell, who ably shouldered leadership of the department for five years. “I inherit a department that is in great shape as a result of Pam’s lengthy tenure,” Lohr said. He also reflected on his various priorities over the next three years as chair. “I want to provide robust support for faculty research and try to facilitate our amazing ongoing record of faculty publications,” Lohr said, noting the strong balance of scholarly productivity and teaching performance exhibited across the ranks of departmental faculty.
Lohr also looks forward to meeting the challenge of managing the transition to a new university-wide Core Curriculum, which will replace the longstanding General Education requirements and require the department to tailor its teaching strengths to a revised set of learning objectives and pedagogical venues. Foremost among the challenges Lohr will face is a nationwide trend in the decline of history majors. “We need to think more about the ways we attract students to history and how we convince undergrads that thinking about history is a good use of their time.” Though Lohr realizes that it will “take more effort than it did in the past to keep students coming to our classes,” he is optimistic that such a challenge can be met through innovative approaches. Lohr’s tenure as department chair will also afford him time to continue his own research projects: he is currently writing a book on Russian mobilization and demobilization efforts during and after World War I, and the ways in which these efforts facilitated the Bolshevik seizure of power in 1917.