College’s Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs Brings Breadth of Knowledge, Experience

by Anne Reynolds

College’s Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs Brings Breadth of Knowledge, Experience

The opening of the fall semester has brought with it a change to the dean’s office at the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, with Lisa Breglia stepping into the newly-defined role of Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs.

Breglia comes to the position from serving as director for the Global Affairs Program, a position she has held since 2013. She looks forward to her new role as an extension of her work with the popular program. “Program development is something I’ve done since I’ve started here,” she said. “Interdisciplinary programs, undergraduate program development, cross-discipline collaboration, these are things I’ve always had the opportunity to do and I want to continue to do that on an even broader level.”

Breglia received her BA in English with Honors from the University of Florida, where she also earned a graduate certificate in Latin American studies and a master’s degree in religious studies. She earned her PhD in anthropology from Rice University.

“I have a truly interdisciplinary education,” she said. “I feel like I can speak to both the humanities and social sciences because I have experience across humanities and social sciences.”

Lisa Breglia at Edzna in Campeche, Mexico

The author of two books, Monumental Ambivalence: The Politics of Heritage (University of Texas Press, 2006) and Living with Oil (University of Texas Press, 2013), Breglia’s major fields of study are the political economy of resources, livelihood security, heritage and the environment.

In pursuing her research, she has actively introduced Mason students to international education. During summer 2019, Breglia traveled with a master’s student to Yucatán, Mexico. “We did these life history interviews with farmers who have seen many decades of how their land has transformed, and what they think climate change actually is,” she explained. She has taken a cadre of students for an intensive two-week study program to Havana, Cuba, for the past six years.

Breglia looks forward to turning her energy towards the broader needs of the college. “There are very robust enrollment goals for the university, and CHSS is eager to think about meeting those in new ways that meet that needs of students through the talents of our faculty.

“One role I will play is in curriculum innovation. It’s something that interests me intellectually,” she said. ”What kind of new curriculum do students want to take part in, in terms of things that will work for their career pathways, that also will take advantage of the strengths of the faculty that have built who we are, and also diverse faculty that we want to become? Playing to the strengths of everyone, to have these kind of … win-win-win scenarios.”