As Dr. Lisa Krissoff Boehm was building her career as an academic, she kept an eye on what was going on at Bridgewater State University. The Michigan native and longtime Grafton resident, has long thought the combination of small class sizes and close faculty-student interaction – delivered for the cost of a state school education – was close to ideal.
“I really believe in this model,” Dr. Boehm said. “I thought it would be great to serve in an institution like that, especially the flagship of the state university system.”
This summer she realized her goal, when she was named dean of the College of Graduate Studies.
Dr. Boehm comes to Bridgewater State University from Manhattanville College in Purchase, N.Y., where she’d served since 2015 as founding dean of the School of Arts and Sciences and professor of history. She was formerly interim dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences and professor of urban studies at Worcester State University, and senior associate dean of academic affairs and professor of history at Emmanuel College.
She holds a BA in history and English from Northwestern University, an MA in social science from the University of Chicago, and a PhD in history from Indiana University.
Dr. Boehm points to the years working on her master’s degree as key to her professional life. While she continued on to a PhD program, during the first year of her graduate studies she made the largest strides.
“I really loved my own graduate experience. It was transformative for me,” she said. “I went from being interested in history to actually being a historian. My writing and critical thinking advanced so much. And to help students with that process at BSU really appeals to me.”
Her years in Chicago also impacted her as a scholar, pointing much of her research in the direction of urban history and culture. In addition to publishing a number of book chapters, articles and reviews, Dr. Boehm is the author of Popular Culture and the Enduring Myth of Chicago, 1871-1968 (Routledge Press, 2004), Making a Way Out of No Way: African American Women and the Second Great Migration (University Press of Mississippi, 2009), and the co-author of America’s Urban History (Routledge, 2015). She is co-editor of the volume, The American Urban Reader: History and Theory (Routledge, 2010).
She is also a visiting scholar with Brandeis University’s Women Studies Research Center, and is at work on a piece of historical fiction about immigrants who worked in Broadway theater in the 1930s. (In November, she’ll be giving a talk at Brandeis about her research.)
In her new role, Dean Boehm says she will focus on graduate student success, programmatic innovation, enrollment growth, and the further enhancing of internal and external relationships that strengthen the graduate experience for both students and faculty.
Introducing her to the campus, Dr. Karim Ismaili, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs, said: “I am confident her collaborative leadership style and commitment to excellence will serve the college extremely well.”
Thus far, Dr. Boehm is enjoying her new job.
“I think our faculty are superb and the opportunity for students to work with them is tremendous.” She also gave kudos to the staff of the College of Graduate Studies.
“I have a huge smile on my face all day working with this particular team,” she said. (Story and photo by John Winters, G ’11, University News & Media)