In February, Cal alumnus James M. Glaser was appointed as the new Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Tufts University. He said, “I’m happy to have this opportunity to lead the School,” which is Tuft’s oldest and largest division, with 5,200 undergraduate and graduate students and more than 650 faculty.
Glaser began his academic career at Tufts when he joined the department of Political Science as an Assistant Professor in 1991. That same year, he completed his Ph.D. in Political Science at UC Berkeley’s Department of Political Science. Glaser had also obtained his M.A. in Political Science at Berkeley.
Glaser credits UC Berkeley for helping him become a political scientist. “It all goes back to Berkeley and I owe a large debt of gratitude to the foundations that were laid at UC Berkeley.”
He credits his relationships with former classmates for enriching his experience in the Political Science department. Today, he remains close with his classmates, whom he considers as among his best friends. “It’s a bonding experience at a time in your life where you’re eager to connect with other people,” he said. He’s maintained his network at UC Berkeley throughout his career. “I had six extraordinary years at Berkeley,” he said. “I could not have had a better preparation for my academic career.”
I owe a large debt of gratitude to the foundations that were laid at UC Berkeley. – Tufts University Arts & Sciences Dean James Glaser
Glaser praises his former professors for his development, especially his mentor Professor Emeritus Ray Wolfinger, who passed away in February. Under Wolfinger, Glaser worked three semesters as a graduate student instructor. “I owe a great deal to Wolfinger,” said Glaser, who visited with him a little over a year ago. “He was invested in my career and in me as a human being, and taught me my craft,” said Glaser, who tries to follow Wolfinger’s model as a teacher. “I loved my time at Berkeley and to have support from him and my peers was very important.”
In his nearly 25 years at Tufts, Glaser has held positions as Chair of the Political Science department, Dean of Undergraduate Education for Arts, Sciences and Engineering, and Dean of Academic Affairs for Arts and Sciences. Prior to his official appointment as Dean, Glaser also served as Dean ad interim since last June.
Glaser believes that having a political scientist background and being persuasive as a leader will help him in his new duties as Dean. “These jobs are very political,” he noted. “Being a Dean means you are involved in the allocation of resources and things that are valued by a lot of people.”
Throughout his career, Glaser has continued teaching, which he calls an “important part of his existence” at Tufts. “At my very core I’m still a professor and I teach a class every year,” he said.