Union names new head of Academic Affairs and faculty

Publication Date

President Stephen C. Ainlay has appointed Strom Thacker as the new vice president of Academic Affairs and dean of the faculty.

In his role, Thacker will have overall responsibility for the academic program and academic services as well as the Department of Athletics and Information Technology Services.

Thacker, who was selected from among more than 100 candidates following a national search, begins July 1. He succeeds Therese McCarty, who held the position since 2007 after serving as interim dean of the faculty from 2005-2007. McCarty will rejoin the Economics Department, where she began at Union in 1987.

Thacker is a professor of international relations and political science at the Pardee School of Global Studies, Boston University. His research and teaching focus broadly on questions of political economy, governance and development, with a regional focus on Mexico and Latin America.

He holds degrees from Pomona College (B.A.) and University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (M.A. and Ph.D.)

“I’m so very excited to be joining the Union College community and leadership team,” Thacker said. “Union has a long and storied tradition and an even more promising future that I am eager to help shape. I’m especially drawn to its unique status as an elite liberal arts college with a special focus on the STEM fields. I look forward to partnering with the College’s faculty, staff and students starting this summer.”

In announcing the appointment, Ainlay cited Thacker’s distinguished record as a teacher and a scholar, and his time at Pomona, where Thacker said he developed a deep and abiding affection for and lifelong passion for the liberal arts.

From 2010 to 2015, he served as associate dean of the faculty for the social sciences in Boston University’s College of Arts and Sciences. In that role, he was responsible for eight departments and 15 interdisciplinary centers, involving 190 full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty and more than 3,600 undergraduate and 800 graduate students.

Thacker is the author of “Big Business, the State, and Free Trade: Constructing Coalitions in Mexico,” “A Centripetal Theory of Democratic Governance (with John Gerring) and the upcoming “Democracy and Development: A Historical Perspective (also with Gerring).

He has published articles in the American Political Science Review, the British Journal of Political Science, Business and Politics, Comparative Political Studies, Global Public Health, International Organization, the Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs, the Journal of Politics, Social Science and Medicine, World Development and World Politics.