Christopher Celenza, a scholar of Italian Renaissance history who currently serves as vice dean for the humanities and social sciences at Johns Hopkins University's Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, will become the university's next vice provost for faculty affairs, Provost Sunil Kumar announced in a message to university leadership today.
In his new role role, Celenza will work closely with schools across the university to address pressing issues facing the faculty. He will work to identify opportunities to increase collaboration, increase faculty diversity, and continue efforts to improve mentorship programs for junior faculty.
"Chris's expertise, innovative drive, and proven record of fostering relationships across university departments make him ideally suited for this important position," Kumar wrote.
Celenza replaces Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy, who left Johns Hopkins to become dean at American University's School of Education on July 1.
"I am delighted to serve in a key role that has to do with faculty all across the university, in ways that will benefit faculty diversity, well-being, and career trajectories," Celenza said. "I look forward to bringing my past experience, largely in the realm of the humanities and arts, into conversation with the varied disciplines of our faculty all across the university."
In addition to his role as vice dean at the Krieger School, Celenza is a professor in JHU's Department of German and Romance Languages and Literatures, and he has served as chair of the Department of Classics, in which he has a joint appointment. He is the author or editor of seven books and more than 40 scholarly articles or book chapters dealing with Italian Renaissance history, post-classical Latin literature and philosophy, and the history of classical scholarship.
Celenza played a key role in the establishment this year of the Alexander Grass Humanities Institute, which serves as a focal point to advance humanities scholarship and teaching at Johns Hopkins.
"Chris has been a trusted advisor to me, our vice deans, and our faculty, and I wish him all the best in this exciting next step in his career," Beverly Wendland, dean of the Krieger School, wrote in a message to Arts and Sciences faculty and staff. She added that Betsy Bryan, professor of Egyptian Art and Archaeology and a member of JHU's faculty since 1986, will succeed Celenza as vice dean of the humanities and social sciences for the School of Arts and Sciences.
Celenza came to Johns Hopkins in 2005 after teaching for nine years in the Department of History at Michigan State University. He holds two doctoral degrees—one in history from Duke University and one in classics and neo-Latin literature from the University of Hamburg.
He has received numerous awards and grants, including fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Fulbright Foundation, and the American Council of Learned Societies. From 2010-14, he served as director of the American Academy in Rome, the United States' oldest center for independent art and humanities research based outside the country.
Celenza will assume the new position next week, Kumar said.
"Johns Hopkins is world renowned in many different areas, and my biggest challenge will be living up to the collective excellence our institution represents by learning the rules, customs, and folkways of all of the different schools within the university's broad orbit," Celenza said. "But I see it less as a challenge and more as an opportunity, and I look forward to beginning the process."