October 9, 2021

Thomas Christensen, the James T. Shotwell professor of international relations, has been named interim dean of Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs, University President Lee Bollinger announced in an email Friday. Christensen’s tenure will begin on Jan. 1 following the end of Merit Janow’s term as dean.

Christensen is a renowned expert on East Asian foreign policy and international security. Before coming to Columbia in fall 2018, Christensen was at Princeton University for 15 years. There, he served as director of the China and the World Program, a program that he brought with him to Columbia. He continues to serve as director of the program.

“Professor Christensen has excelled in three areas of importance to SIPA and the University,” Janow wrote when Christensen joined SIPA’s faculty three years ago. “He is widely recognized as a leading expert in Chinese foreign relations; as a major scholar of international relations; and for his accomplishments as a senior U.S. policymaker responsible for relations with East Asia.”

Christensen is a Columbia alumnus, having received his Ph.D. in political science from the University after completing his undergraduate degree at Haverford College and a master’s degree in international relations at the University of Pennsylvania. He has taught not only at Columbia and Princeton but also at Cornell University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Outside of his roles in academia, Christensen served as the U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs from 2006 to 2008. In this role, he oversaw relations with China, Mongolia, and Taiwan. In 2002, he received the Distinguished Public Service Award from the United States Department of State. He is also a life member of the Council on Foreign Affairs and is a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

“Tom is an admired teacher, scholar, and colleague whom we are deeply fortunate to count as a member of our community. I am very grateful to Tom for taking on this interim role,” Bollinger wrote in his email.

News Editor Dia Gill can be contacted at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @_diagill BY DIA GILL • OCTOBER 8, 2021, 1:39 PM https://www.columbiaspectator.com/news/2021/10/08/thomas-christensen-named-interim-dean-of-the-school-of-international-and-public-affairs/

Thomas Christensen CWP Columbia China Headshot Dean