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Dr. Tom Thornton Named as New UAS Dean of Arts and Sciences

Juneau, Alaska

The University of Alaska Southeast is pleased to announce that Dr. Thomas Thornton has been selected as the new Dean of Arts & Sciences. He will also serve as UAS Vice-Provost for Research and Sponsored Programs. He replaces Dr. Paula Martin, who has served as the interim dean of the school since summer 2017.

As dean, Dr. Thornton will provide leadership for the school and its four departments: Business and Public Administration, Humanities, Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences. The position promotes UAS’ mission focusing on student learning and success, and providing robust high impact learning opportunities for students. He will assume his new role in Juneau on July 1.

UAS Chancellor Rick Caulfield noted that “It is a pleasure to welcome Dr. Thornton back to Alaska and to have the benefit of his academic leadership and expertise at our university. His career combines an exceptionally strong academic foundation with an ability to work collaboratively with faculty and with community partners.”

Dr. Thornton earned a bachelor’s degree in Sociology/Anthropology from Swarthmore College and both a master’s degree and Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Washington. He previously lived in Juneau and taught at UAS. He currently is an associate professor and senior research fellow at University of Oxford in the United Kingdom where he has worked in the Environmental Change Institute, School of Geography and the Environment. He is also a fellow of the Global Diversity Foundation’s Global Environmental Summer Academy in Bern, Switzerland.

A renowned researcher, Dr. Thornton has been involved in numerous projects involving anthropology and human ecology, including many in Alaska. His book, Haa Léelk’w Hás Aaní Saax’u: Our Grandparents’ Names on the Land, won a 2012 Alaska Historical Association award. In previous Alaska research he has collaborated with a number of Southeast Alaska tribes and organizations, including Sealaska Heritage Institute, Sitka Tribe of Alaska, and the Southeast Native Subsistence Commission. He has published over 70 works in his fields of study, and has been a guest speaker in a variety of international forums and institutions.

UAS Provost Karen Carey noted, “Dr. Thornton will be a great addition to the UAS campus. His knowledge of Southeast Alaska, his understanding of the Native cultures and lands, and his interests in expanding research at UAS will lead to increased recognition of our campus.”

Press Release Contact

Keni Campbell
University of Alaska Southeast
(907) 796-6509