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Stojanowski to lead ASU's School of Human Evolution and Social Change

New director will expand the school's teaching, research and outreach efforts

Christopher Stojanowski taking notes in the field
April 20, 2020

Christopher Stojanowski, a bioarchaeologist who uses the tools of skeletal biology to investigate human history, has been named director of Arizona State University’s School of Human Evolution and Social Change.

Stojanowski joined the school’s faculty in 2005 and has served in several administrative roles, most recently as acting director. His new appointment begins July 1.

“Professor Stojanowski’s leadership has been key in advancing initiatives within the School of Human Evolution and Social Change,” said Patrick Kenney, dean of The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “He has demonstrated a commitment to elevating the school's programs, developing partnerships and expanding opportunities for faculty, staff and students. I look forward to seeing all he will accomplish as director.”

The author of three books on European colonialism in the New World, Stojanowski’s broad research agenda analyzes the human body to study the lives of past peoples. His interests include better understanding the social lives of early hunter-gatherers and determining how human teeth form and what they can tell us about our evolutionary past.

Stojanowski earned his doctorate in anthropology from the University of New Mexico after completing a Master of Science at Florida State University. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. His experience at ASU includes serving as associate director of the Center for Bioarchaeological Research, associate director of undergraduate studies for the School of Human Evolution and Social Change and acting director.

The School of Human Evolution and Social Change has emerged as a unique academic environment, recognized as the top research-producing anthropology program in the U.S. It’s one of the few places where studies of bones, stones, cultures and primates take place alongside mathematical modeling of viral diseases and clean water initiatives. Faculty incorporate the traditional fields of archaeology, bioarchaeology, evolutionary and sociocultural anthropology with perspectives from environmental social science, global health and applied mathematics.

“It is the combination of perspectives on the deep past as well as the ‘in the moment’ present that makes the school so unique,” Stojanowski said. “Our interdisciplinary faculty bring new perspectives and methods to addressing old and classic questions about humanity, as well as defining completely new ways of thinking about the global human experience.”

He succeeds President’s Professor Kaye Reed, who will resume her teaching and research program in evolutionary anthropology after leading the school for more than three years.

Christopher Stojanowski

“My appointment as director is an honor of the highest degree, and one that comes with tremendous responsibility for the advancement of everyone that comes into contact with the school,” Stojanowski said.

Since its creation in 2005, the school has expanded its offerings to include four undergraduate degrees and six graduate programs. More than 60 faculty members teach courses both on campus and to learners across the globe via ASU Online. The school is also responsible for maintaining more than 2 million artifacts and specimens as well as operating the Deer Valley Petroglyph Preserve, a 47-acre nature preserve in north Phoenix.

“Professor Stojanowski brings a great wealth of knowledge to (the school) in the field of bioarchaeology and beyond,” said Elizabeth Wentz, dean of social sciences at The College. “With a history of earning grant awards, teaching awards and mentoring graduate students, I'm excited to see how Stojanowski will continue to be an asset to our community.”

Stojanowski plans to continue expanding the school’s reach through teaching, research and outreach programs. He is an advocate for its interdisciplinary mission and wants students to graduate with the tools to address pressing problems in society.

“While this includes technical skills, it also includes having a deep understanding of the human condition to ensure they know what the important questions to ask really are,” Stojanowski said.

Top photo: Professor Christopher Stojanowski working at an archaeological field site in Niger. Courtesy Christopher Stojanowski

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