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James Johnson Steps Down as Core Curriculum Director

James Johnson steps down as director of the CAS Core Curriculum to concentrate on teaching this fall.

The beginning of a school year marks a fresh start for many, but for James Johnson, a professor of history in the College of Arts and Sciences, it also marks the end of his term as assistant dean and director of the Core Curriculum.

Johnson thinks it’s time for someone with fresh energy, so he decided to step down after his second three-year term. Succeeding him on September 1 is M. David Eckel, a CAS professor of religion and winner of a 1998 Metcalf Award for Teaching Excellence, one of the University’s highest teaching honors.

Johnson wants to focus more on teaching and to finish writing Modern Masks — Venice, Paris, Vienna, a book he began working on 10 years ago, which examines the practice and rhetoric of masking in modern and early-modern Europe.

“I think of myself as a teacher and a scholar first and an administrator second,” he says.

Johnson had taught a course in the Core Curriculum nearly every semester for 11 years when he accepted the position. “I felt a real sense of devotion to the program,” he says, “and a sense of responsibility and of wanting to help it.” The last six years have seen increased student retention in the program and substantial revisions to three courses.

Rebecca McNamara can be reached at ramc@bu.edu.