After Two Years, New CSJ Director Chosen
Published: Friday, December 7, 2012
Updated: Friday, December 7, 2012 16:12
Andria Wisler, director of the Program on Justice and Peace, will assume a new role as director of the Center for Social Justice on New Year’s Day, filling a position that has been vacant for more than two years.
Witt/Kieffer, an executive search firm that has worked with Georgetown in the past, supported a search committee of students, faculty and staff that suggested Wisler as a strong candidate to University Provost Robert Groves following a six-month-long search that evaluated approximately 150 applicants from both inside and outside the university.
“CSJ is one of the reasons why I came to Georgetown when I applied for the position I have now,” Wisler said. “My mailbox is at the CSJ, I use the photocopier there. I make excuses to have to go over there. I love the energy there and I love the spirit.”
Through her work with JUPS, Wisler has interacted with the CSJ by teaching courses with a community-based-learning element and collaborating on events.
“I want to be able to keep the momentum of the CSJ going strongly and be able to introduce the CSJ’s work to a larger spectrum of students on campus,” Wisler said. “I want anybody on campus to hear the acronym CSJ and know exactly what it is.”
The search committee brought three finalists to campus, each of whom was interviewed by faculty and students.
Maya Chaudhuri (SFS ’13), a member of the CSJ Advisory Board for Student Organizations, was excited about Wisler’s appointment.
“One thing that has really stood out … is Andria’s dedication to students,” Chaudhuri said. “Everyone I know who has taken her class or done research with her talks about how important it is for her for students to learn about social justice and then to act on that.”
Senior Counselor to the President Jane Genster has been serving as interim director of the CSJ since the center’s founder, Kathleen Maas Weigert, left the university in 2010.
Genster attributed the extended interim period to two challenges last year: the death of the CSJ’s associate director, Suzanne Tarlov, and the rocky introduction of the Georgetown Management System, which created payment problems for the center’s 250 work-study student employees.
“We had challenges we hadn’t anticipated that we needed to deal with and work through to reorganize and come back in strength,” Genster said.
Genster will return to her role as senior counselor to the president and is confident that Wisler will continue to advance the CSJ’s mission.
“I think she can bring strong leadership in all three areas — research, leadership and service,” Genster said.
Wisler also anticipated the transition period unfolding smoothly and hopes to resume teaching a JUPS course next fall.
“It’ll be incredibly natural,” she said of the transition. “I have already worked with people there and I know people’s names and know a lot about the center, and so many people at Georgetown are committed to justice and peace studies that I know it’s going to become stronger.”
The justice and peace studies program will search for a visiting assistant professor to replace Wisler and a current professor will assume the role of director.