Jan Ellen Lewis Named Dean of Faculty of Arts & Sciences

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Dr Jan Ellen Lewis, an American historian and expert on Thomas Jefferson, has been named dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University, Newark (FAS-N), effective immediately. 

Interim Chancellor Todd Clear announced the appointment of Lewis, who had been serving as acting dean, on Nov. 21, stating, “Working with Dean Lewis over the last few months has given me full confidence that under her leadership, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences will be poised to strengthen and advance innovative academic programs and services, integrating them into the new university structure and strategic plan and enabling meaningful collaborations.  I look forward to working with her as we move forward in this process.”

Commenting on her appointment, Lewis observed, “I have spent my whole career on this campus and seen it grow, under strong leadership, into a major university center, with the most wonderful faculty, students, and staff I could ever imagine working with.  It is a remarkable privilege to be able to lead FAS-N as dean, especially at this time, when Nancy Cantor and Todd Clear will be bringing the campus visionary leadership.”

Lewis has taught American history at Rutgers University-Newark since 1977.  She is a recognized expert on Thomas Jefferson and a specialist in colonial and early national history with a particular interest in gender, race, and politics.

She is the author or co-author of several books, including The Pursuit of Happiness: Family and Values in Jefferson’s Virginia (1983); An Emotional History of the United States (1998); Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson: History, Memory, and Civic Culture (1999); and The Revolution of 1800: Democracy, Race, & the New Republic (2002).  She co-authored a college-level American history textbook, Of the People (Oxford University Press), now in its second edition. Lewis, who has reviewed history and fiction for the Phi Beta Kappa Key Reporter, has also published numerous articles and reviews and is quoted frequently in the press. 

Lewis has chaired the New Jersey Historical Commission and the American Historical Association's Committee on Women Historians, and served on numerous boards, including the Advisory Board of the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello, the Advisory Committee of the Papers of Thomas Jefferson, and the editorial board of The American Historical Review.  She is an elected member of the American Antiquarian Society, and a Fellow of the Society of American Historians.

Lewis also has held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Philadelphia Center for Early American Studies, Center for the History of Freedom at Washington University, and the International Center for Jefferson Studies. 

Lewis received her A.B. in history from Bryn Mawr College; she earned masters degrees in both American culture and history, as well as her Ph.D., from the University of Michigan. 

Lewis and her husband, Barry Bienstock, the Martin Sokolow Chair in History at the Horace Mann School, live in Maplewood, New Jersey.