August 4, 2023
Peter Larson poses in front of the Reflecting Pong

Dr. Peter Larson has been appointed Associate Dean of the UCF College of Arts and Humanities, effective August 8. Larson joined UCF in 2006 and has been the chair of the Department of History since 2016. In his new role, Larson will initially be responsible for overseeing the college’s research, program assessment, faculty qualifications management and certification (FQMS), faculty evaluations (SPOIs) and SACS-COC accreditation activities.

Jeff Moore, dean of the College of Arts and Humanities, says that Larson will be a good complement to the current leadership team. “We were very fortunate to have had a strong candidate pool – any of them could have been successful in the role. Peter’s thorough understanding of the position and his interest in assessment will help him be successful in the position, as will the even-keeled management style he has demonstrated over the last seven years as a department chair.”

UCF’s large and diverse history department boasts successful academic programs including undergraduate and graduate degrees in history, a public history program and six interdisciplinary programs. During Larson’s tenure, the number of full professors in the department has doubled and the Africana Studies program was revitalized. He also established a new exchange program with a university in Ireland, receiving the highest number of applications for any UCF program in 2022-23.

Larson says he intends to build on the work he started as chair: in particular commitments to diversity, grant support, and community outreach, as well as supporting faculty development and innovation in teaching and research. “Teaching and research have changed incredibly since I became chair,” he says. “We need to take the lead, but not forget where we come from. It’s about balance.”

Asked what he hopes to bring to the position, Larson explains he wants to provide a humanities viewpoint. “You can’t look at datasets and analytics and forget that they are based on individuals, and it is individuals not numbers who are going to be affected. In my research, I pair data series with individual stories to understand history more fully, and I intend to pursue my role as associate dean with the same philosophy.”

Larson earned his Ph.D. in history from Rutgers in 2004. His most recent book, Rethinking the Great Transition: Community and Economic Growth in Durham, 1349-1660, was published by Oxford University Press in 2022. His new project is a long-term study of commercialization in northern England.

Dr. Nancy Stanlick, who has been serving in the role of associate dean in the dean’s office, will be stepping into the role of chair of the Department of Philosophy. Dr. John Sacher will be the interim chair of the Department of History while a search for a permanent chair is conducted over the next year.