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Monday, April 15, 2024
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American University chooses scholar and public health expert Shannon Hader as next dean of SIS

Hader will take over on July 1

After nearly a yearlong nationwide search, Dr. Shannon Hader will serve as the next dean of American University’s School of International Service. Hader will assume the role on July 1.

“I have really been attracted to the distinctive mission of SIS, and that it is not just a school for International relations, but it is very much a school of international service,” Hader told The Eagle. “I am really passionate about this mission of international service, and I hope both my passion and my experience in that will meld really well with the mission of SIS.”

Hader is a public health scholar, diplomat and global health expert, and is a leader within disease prevention and academica. Hader recently served as the Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations, as well as the Deputy Executive Director of Programmes for the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, which brings together 11 UN agencies to coordinate HIV/AIDS prevention. 

In a Wednesday email to the AU community, Provost and Chief Academic Officer Peter Starr announced Hader’s appointment to the role. 

“Dr. Hader has extensive experience developing shared strategy, leading teams through transition, creating new partnerships, and championing inclusive excellence,” Starr wrote in the email. “Based on her impressive background, she is particularly well suited to support AU’s outstanding faculty as SIS continues to excel at research and scholarship and educating the next generation of leaders.”

Before joining the UN, Hader led the Division of Global HIV and TB at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, serving as the Director for over three years. The email emphasized how Hader’s work within health, data science and social equity intertwines with AU’s main areas of strategic focus. 

Hader told The Eagle that in her role as dean, it is vital that SIS continues to stress the importance of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), especially in the midst of a changing interpretation of globalization. 

“We are at a moment where people are looking to redefine what globalization looks like, and who is at the table,” Hader said. “We need to make sure we create this space for new ideas, and new energies to champion the new solutions that our complex world needs.” 

Hader has also had a notable scholarly career, publishing an array of articles, reports and government documents. She has also served as adjunct professor at Emory University and as a Katherine Haughton Hepburn visiting fellow at Bryn Mawr College.

In a press release from the University, SIS professor Patrick Thaddeus Jackson, who also led the search committee in charge of hiring Hader, explained how her commitment to “waging peace,” as well as the experience within international affairs makes her the best possible choice for the position. 

“Dr. Hader’s years of experience in international public service and her impressive record of policy-relevant scholarship make her an ideal leader for SIS,” Jackson said. 

Hader will succeed Christine Chin, who began her time as SIS dean in 2017, and stepped down following this past academic year. Chin will remain with AU as a faculty member. 

“I am looking forward to becoming part of the University community,” Hader said. “I am really excited to come inside the fold, and get that energy that comes from students and our future leaders.”

Correction: The original version of this article contained an incorrect version of Patrick Thaddeus Jackson's name. It has been updated with the correct version.

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