Date:   September 21, 2023
To:       The ISAW Community
From:  NYU President Linda G. Mills and Interim Provost Georgina Dopico

Alexander Jones–who joined NYU in 2008 as Professor of the History in the Exact Sciences in Antiquity and who has led the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World since 2017 as its director (after having served as Acting Director, Vice Director, and Interim Director)–has let us know that he will step down as director and return to the faculty to pursue his scholarship at the end of academic year 2023-24.

The Institute has been very fortunate when it comes to leadership, first in benefiting from Roger Bagnall’s indispensable efforts as its founding director, and then in having Alex as his successor. From this foundation, the Institute has gone on to fulfill the ambitious academic goal envisioned for it: to firmly establish a new field of study of the ancient world, one that is interdisciplinary and cross-cultural and that explores its interconnections. Surpassing all expectations for so young a field, ISAW has recruited distinguished faculty, increasingly drawn greater numbers of excellent student applicants, and achieved an outstanding record of graduate placement. Its exhibitions, illustrating seldom seen aspects of an interconnected ancient world, have intrigued not just scholars but the broad public, and been widely praised by reviewers for their quality–a record of success that will continue with the endowment of the Bernard and Lisa Selz Exhibitions Directorship. The reach of ISAW’s archaeological scholarship is extraordinary–faculty at ISAW now direct or co-direct archaeological projects in Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Iraqi Kurdistan, Uzbekistan, and China; moreover, the Institute has taken a leading role in forming a network bringing together and building on NYU's remarkably rich cross-school resources in archaeology and archaeological science. Its library provides access to and support for emerging forms of digital scholarship, communication, and pedagogy in ancient studies, and a rapidly expanding series of ISAW Monographs, published by NYU Press, complement ISAW's open-access online journal ISAW Papers in disseminating the Institute’s research.

For his contributions to all this–as well as for his wisdom; his quiet, thoughtful colleagueship; his high academic standards; his leadership during this important stage of the Institute’s development and through the pandemic; and his unshakeable belief in what the Institute’s approach could accomplish in advancing the study of antiquity–we are very grateful to Alex.

The timeline for Alex’s stepping down will allow us to conduct a search and have a successor in place for fall 2024. We will be in touch again soon about the search.

In the meantime, we hope you will join us in thanking Alex for superb service, congratulating him on his accomplishments, and wishing him well.