Professor Emerita of Political Science; Dean Emerita, College of Arts & Sciences

Areas of Specialization: Political Psychology; Political Behavior and Public Opinion; Gender Politics; Feminist and Democratic Theory; Higher Education

Virginia Sapiro, Professor of Political Science Emerita and Dean of Arts & Sciences Emerita, came to Boston University in 2007 to serve as Dean of the College and Graduate School of Arts & Science. During her time as Dean, she successfully worked to increase transparency and fairness in governance, equity and empowerment among faculty, enhancing the quality of undergraduate and graduate education and student life, and she led the creation and implementation of a 10-year strategic plan. She oversaw the hiring of more than 150 new faculty, instituted a mentoring program, and other changes to support their careers. She oversaw the creation and transformation of interdisciplinary studies, including the BU Center for the Study of Asia; the BU Center for the Study of Europe; Middle East & North Africa Studies; the Biogeosciences Program; Cinema and Media Studies; a new Department of Earth & Environment (formerly Departments of Earth Sciences and Geography & Environment); an undergraduate Neuroscience major and new graduate Neuroscience program; an independent MFA program in Playwriting; a transformed Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies Program (formerly Women’s Studies); and the creation of the Pardee School of Global Studies, among other things.

Sapiro earned her A.B. with High Honors in Government from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts (1972), where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She completed her Ph.D. in Political Science at the University of Michigan in 1976 and, that same year, joined the faculty of the University of Wisconsin – Madison as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science and the newly established Women’s Studies Program. When she finished her service there in 2007, she was the Sophonisba P. Breckinridge Professor of Political Science and Women’s Studies. She was Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning at the University of Wisconsin – Madison from 2002 through December, 2006 and served as Interim Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs from November 2005 through March 2006. She remains the Sophonisba P. Breckinridge Professor Emerita of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

Sapiro’s scholarly interests include American politics, political psychology and political behavior, gender politics, feminist theory, American political development, and the history of higher education.  Although retired, she remains an active scholar, focusing primarily on a history of American higher education, considered in the context of American political development.

Sapiro has held many leadership positions in her profession and in the wider community. She has received many honors and awards. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

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