Anthropology Department: Past and Present

Arlen and tosha 250x300The department of anthropology hosted a welcome back BBQ on August 22, 2015 to welcome six new faculty members and to honor the department’s inaugural chair, and current Associate Dean for the College of Sciences,  Arlen Chase, Ph.D., for his many contributions to the department.

Dr. Arlen Chase was the department of anthropology’s inaugural chair when they became a department in 2006 and reamained chair until 2014.  He and his wife Diane were the 4th and 5th anthropologists hired at UCF and they were housed in a combined department as part of a smaller academic unit.  Currently, the department has grown to 22 faculty and 2 support staff.

Dr. Chase was honored with a plaque in the main office, recognizing his service as the inaugural chair.  The department conference room was also given his namesake, the Dr. Arlen Chase Conference Room, in recognition of his service and leadership of the department.

“The faculty are wonderful teachers and researchers.  I have truly enjoyed the small part that I have played in helping to build a cornerstone unit for the College of Sciences – and I was both surprised and honored by my colleagues in their decision to apply my name to our conference room,” stated Chase

Tosha Dupras, Ph.D., current chair of the department stated, “Dr. Arlen Chase’s passion and vision helped us grow and thrive as a department during some of the most difficult budgetary years in UCF’s history.  His leadership was exactly what the department of anthropology needed as we split from sociology(department) and developed our graduate program.

Dr. Chase envisions more growth in the future of the deparment.  “Once the Ph.D. program is approved by the Florida Board of Governors, I have no doubt that UCF will have a nationally-ranked program in Anthropology,” stated Chase.

Among the new faculty members welcomed to the deparment of anthropology at the event were:

Scott Branting, Ph.D., Assistant Professor – He was most recently the Director of Geospatial Initiatives and the Geographic Research Center at the American Scoots of Oriental Research and was a Research Associate at the University of Chicago.

Michael Callaghan, Ph.D., Assistant Professor – He was most recently a Visiting Assistant Professor and Adjunct Professor at Southern Methodist University.

Neil Duncan, Ph.D., Assistant Professor – He was most recently a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Archaeology Center at Stanford University.

Shana Harris, Ph.D., Visiting Lecturer – She was most recently on a Postdoctoral appointment with the National Development and Research Institutes.

Brigitte Kovacevich, Ph.D., Assistant Professor – She was most recently an Assistant Professor at Southern Methodist University.

John Starbuck, Ph.D., Assistant Professor – He was most recently a visiting lecturer at Indiana University Northwest.




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