In a year when global travel was not possible, WPI launched The Global School and creatively pivoted its Global Projects Program.Read Story
Mimi Sheller Named Inaugural Dean of The Global School
Following an international search, Mimi Sheller, formerly head of the Department of Sociology at Drexel University and a distinguished and internationally recognized scholar and educational leader with 15 years of executive leadership of academic units, research centers, and professional organizations, has been named the inaugural dean of The Global School at WPI.
“With her depth of knowledge of global issues, her extensive network of collaborators around the world, and her pioneering research in mobility justice,” President Laurie Leshin says, “Mimi Sheller will help the university build on its half century of leadership in global project-based learning to create a new model for applied global scholarship and education.”
Launched in 2020, The Global School is a focal point and platform for academic and research programs and global partnerships aimed at helping meet a host of pressing global challenges and improving the quality of life for people around the world. While it has its own faculty and programs, the new school has been expressly designed to forge linkages with WPI’s other schools, providing opportunities for engagement for people in all corners of the university and in all corners of the world.
Mimi Sheller will help the university build on its half century of leadership in global project-based learning to create a new model for applied global scholarship and education.Laurie Leshin
With an AB in history and literature from Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges and an MA in sociology and historical studies and a PhD in sociology from the New School for Social Research, Sheller has held a number of academic positions, including senior lecturer in sociology and founding co-director of the Centre for Mobilities Research at Lancaster University in the UK and president of the International Association for the History of Transport, Traffic, and Mobility. She joined Drexel as a professor of sociology in 2009 and was named head of the Sociology Department in 2020.
She is co-founder of the interdisciplinary field of mobilities research, which studies the movement of people, objects, and information, as well as the complex new mobilities (and immobilities) that are afforded by changing technologies and infrastructures. “In my work, I focus on mobility justice,” she says, “which explores the inequities in who has access to movement and who doesn’t, and also who has the right to dwell or to stay in place. The complexity of the world today demands a new interdisciplinary social science informed by humanities, arts, engineering, planning, and design.
“The world faces so many challenges: climate change, the pandemic, refugee crises, worries about wars and national borders,” she adds. “Now more than ever, we need global connections to build a more socially just world. The Global School can lead the way in showing how to prepare globally engaged leaders and problem solvers who can help take on these challenges in partnership with communities and people around the world.”