Bianet Castellanos appointed director of UMN Institute for Advanced Study

Dear Colleagues:

I am delighted to announce the appointment of Bianet Castellanos as the next director of the University’s Institute for Advanced Study (IAS), effective September 26, 2022. She will provide academic and administrative leadership for the IAS as a systemwide center advancing multidisciplinary scholarship and teaching collaborations, aligned with key commitments of the systemwide strategic plan MPact 2025. She will succeed Jennifer Gunn, who plans to step down as IAS director this fall after eight years of exceptional leadership to return full-time to her tenured faculty position as History of Medicine Endowed Professor in the Medical School’s Program in the History of Medicine.

Dr. Castellanos is professor and chair of American studies at the University of Minnesota and Distinguished University Teaching Professor and Scholar of the College of Liberal Arts. She brings broad scholarly and administrative experience advancing interdisciplinary scholarship, teaching, and engagement with diverse communities. She served previously as American Studies director of graduate studies as well as interim chair for the Department of Chicano and Latino Studies. She is an affiliated faculty member in American Indian Studies, Chicano and Latino Studies, the Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change, and Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies; she also serves on the executive and advisory boards for the Center for Race, Indigeneity, Disability, Gender, and Sexuality. She has contributed to University-wide collaborations advancing institutional priorities in research, public engagement, equity and diversity, and graduate education. Beyond the University she is closely engaged with El Colegio High School, serving as a board member since 2016 and working with students to study the education barriers facing immigrant students in the Twin Cities.

Dr. Castellanos joined the University faculty in 2005 and holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Michigan. Her research focuses on migration in the Americas and underlying cultural politics of race, gender, nation, and development. She has published several books based on her collaborations over three decades with Maya communities in Mexico and their diasporas in the United States. She teaches courses on Indigenous urbanisms, immigration, tourism, American politics and popular culture, and the U.S.-Mexico border.

Dr. Castellanos has been closely involved with the IAS and its programs. She has been a faculty fellow; served as a member of the IAS advisory board; participated in research and creative collaboratives bridging the sciences, arts, and humanities; and been a mentor for graduate students holding interdisciplinary fellowships through the IAS. She is currently the co-PI for the IAS’s Humanities Without Walls 2023 Pre-doctoral Career Diversity Workshop.  

This appointment is the result of an internal University search process that drew outstanding candidates from across the University system. I want to thank the nine-member search committee, especially chair Dean Lisa German, for their tremendous work, and also extend my thanks to the IAS advisory board and staff for their thoughtful engagement in the hiring process.

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Castellanos on her appointment, and again in expressing gratitude to Dr. Gunn for her outstanding leadership that has significantly expanded the Institute’s capacities, scope, and impact.

Sincerely yours,

Rachel T.A. Croson
Executive Vice President and Provost

email sent to Twin Cities faculty and the systemwide administrative email list (AEL) on July 8, 2022