New Chairs Named in Ivan Allen College

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Following a national search, the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts has selected David Laband, Dina Khapaeva and Richard Utz to chair its schools of Economics, Modern Languages, and Literature, Communication, and Culture (LCC), respectively. The appointments are effective Aug. 1.  

Laband currently serves as professor and director of graduate programs for the economics department at Auburn University, where he has focused on building the PhD program and is heading the department’s capital campaign. Previously, he chaired the economics department at Salisbury State University in Maryland.

“I am delighted to be joining the faculty of Georgia Tech and the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts,” Laband said. “I look forward to working across the university community to enhance the contributions of the School of Economics and help develop an internationally prominent program.”

An applied micro-economist, Laband’s research includes substantial work in several of the school’s strategic areas, particularly environmental economics, labor economics and micro-economic analysis. Laband earned a master’s and PhD in economics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute.  

Khapaeva is currently a researcher at Helsinki Collegium at the University of Helsinki. Khapaeva was the inaugural director for International Relations and Research at the Smolny College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, a joint program between St. Petersburg State University and Bard College, Russia’s first “American-style” liberal arts college. She was also the founding director of Smolny Collegium, an institute for advanced studies.

Khapaeva anticipates focusing on further development and expansion of the School of Modern Languages’ nine modern language tracks and the internationalization and cultural adaptability of students.

She specializes in Russian literature and culture and earned a PhD in history from St. Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg, Russia.

Utz recently completed a four-year term as chair of the Department of English at Western Michigan University. During his career in Europe and the United States, he has served in a wide variety of leadership positions in the areas of graduate study, tenure and promotion, assessment, scholarly communication and strategic planning.

“I see my new position in LCC as a unique opportunity to bridge the allegedly sempiternal chasm between science and technology on the one hand and humanistic inquiry on the other,” Utz said. “My goal as a scholar, teacher and administrator is to further innovate interdisciplinary collaboration among specialists from traditionally separate disciplines, which in my view, is the only promising way to solve the complex social and cultural problems of the future. GT, IAC and LCC’s strategic mission to support such creative collaborative work is what attracted me to join this distinguished institution.”

Utz currently serves as president of the International Society for the Study of Medievalism and is an established interdisciplinary scholar of medieval culture and its reception in postmedieval times.  

He earned a master’s and a PhD from the University of Regensburg, Germany.



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