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Bates selects Kaufman

By Sally Harris

Spectrum Volume 18 Issue 04 - September 14, 1995

Dean Robert C. Bates of the College of Arts and Sciences has announced that Burton Kaufman, former head of the history department, has been appointed the first chair of the new Center for Interdisciplinary Studies (CIS).

The center was officially established July 1 from existing departments, centers, and programs. Kaufman's appointment is for two years so that he can assist in the transition from independent units into a single unit; after that period, the chair position will be a rotating appointment.

The center consists of Black Studies, Liberal Arts and Sciences Advising Center, the Center for Programs in the Humanities, Women's Studies, the Center for the Study of Science in Society, Religious Studies, and International Studies.

Kaufman's "vision for the center as a model for interdisciplinary instruction and scholarship has excited those who are coming together to form the center," Bates said.

"Although CIS is in the College of Arts and Sciences," Kaufman said, "my vision is to make it THE center for interdisciplinary studies for the whole university. I want it to be not just an administrative structure, but an academic unit that promotes interdisciplinary studies throughout the entire university. I want to be very much involved in outreach programs to extend the role of CIS outside the university as well."

Kaufman came to Virginia Tech in 1988 as head of the history department and professor of history, having been a professor and acting department head at Kansas State University before that. He is the author of six books and editor of one. Two of his books, one about the Korean War and one about Eisenhower, were selected outstanding academic books by Choice.

Kaufman has published extensively in professional journals. Two of his articles received awards as best articles, one from the Journal of American History and one from the Business History Review. He has received many other honors and awards, including being chosen presidential lecturer at North Texas State University, and has served the college and university in numerous roles.