Alex Otieno, a faculty member in the Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice Department, was appointed associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, effective July 12. In this role, Otieno will contribute to several important initiatives in the College of Arts and Sciences including developing connections with the regional and global community, curricular enhancement, degree completion, and faculty development. He will remain a faculty member in Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice.
“I am thrilled that Alex accepted the appointment as Associate Dean,” said Dr. Rebecca Kohn, vice provost for Academic Planning and Faculty Affairs and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “Alex’s experience as director of the Humanities Research Lab, member of the Board of Directors of Prevention Point of Philadelphia, and member of the Pan African Studies Collective contribute to his excellent leadership skills. His commitment to Arcadia as an educator since 2001 provides him with a deep understanding of the University that will serve him well in this position.”
At Arcadia, Otieno engages in discursive practice oriented and community-engaged research on human rights and improving well-being among marginalized groups. He has ongoing research projects on migration and belonging as well as Black public intellectuals that are to be published in refereed journals and as a book manuscript. Beyond teaching courses in sociology, anthropology and International Peace and Conflict Resolution, Otieno has participated in the development of the Humanities Research Lab (HRL) as part of its leadership team and currently serves as director.
In Spring 2021 he initiated several projects at HRL including a bi-weekly Poetry in Everyday Life series which brought together faculty and staff to share and discuss poetry and several panels as part of collaborative conversation series. The series explored two broad themes: Religion and Peacebuilding and Migration, Identity and Belonging. They brought together Arcadia students, faculty, and staff, as well as experts from community-based organizations to engage each other in discussions about historical and contemporary matters.
Otieno’s leadership and impact extend beyond his role in higher education. Long a champion for health and human rights and peacebuilding in community and everyday life, he has served on the Board of Directors of Prevention Point of Philadelphia and most recently, he was elected to the board of directors of the Peace Center where several graduates of the International Peace and Conflict Resolution program are staff members. Both organizations promote health and wellness through empowerment oriented activities that reduce harm.
From 2017-19, Otiena served as director of the University of Pennsylvania Lauder Institute’s Africa summer immersion program, where he designed and implemented multimodal and transdisciplinary global learning that emphasized epistemic justice and institutional responsiveness. He brought his commitment to human rights as emancipatory practice to bear and draw on sociological approaches to higher education to cogenerate opportunities for students from various disciplinary backgrounds.
Prior to coming to Arcadia, Otieno was director of Residential Services at Project HOME in Philadelphia where he managed several residential, business and continuing education programs with recurrent budgets totaling over a million dollars. Before that he served as Community Liaison for the Outreach Coordination Center for the City of Philadelphia where he worked with various publics on optimizing responses to homelessness in the City. Otieno undertook doctoral studies at Temple University where he also earned a master’s in Public Health, and received a bachelor’s degree in history and archaeology at University of Nairobi, Kenya.