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Dean of the College, Professor of English
aguirrrd@jmu.edu
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Robert D. Aguirre (Ph.D. Harvard) is Professor of English and Dean of the College of Arts and Letters at James Madison University. As dean, he leads an organization of more than 270 tenured and tenure-track faculty, forty staff members, ten academic units, several inter-disciplinary centers and over 3500 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled across fifty academic majors, minors, and certificates.

An interdisciplinary literary scholar with interests in transnationalism, material culture, and the study of mobilities, Dr. Aguirre is the author of Informal Empire: Mexico and Central America in Victorian Culture (2004) and Mobility and Modernity: Panama in the Nineteenth-Century Anglo-American Imagination (2017), and has published numerous essays on museum studies, travel literature, expeditionary photography and US Latinx literature. His work has been supported by fellowships from the Huntington Library, the Andrew Mellon Foundation and Brown University. He currently serves on the board of the Library of Virginia.

The youngest in a family of eleven children, a community college transfer student, and a first-gen, Dr. Aguirre champions the access mission of public higher education with a focus on excellence and purposeful leadership. Over his career, he has successfully launched scholarships for under-represented students; built support systems to increase student success; and brought to fruition initiatives for increasing faculty, staff and curricular diversity.

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