Rackham Graduate School welcomes Professor Rita Chin as an associate dean for academic programs and initiatives. In her role, Chin will serve as the primary liaison between Rackham and academic units in the social sciences. She will work closely with these programs to promote best practices in graduate education and to achieve student success, to serve as a contact for Rackham on campus and nationally, to promote and support cross-unit partnerships and interdisciplinary efforts, and to develop new initiatives and programs, including efforts in the areas of diversity, climate, and professional development.
“Professor Chin’s teaching and research, along with her demonstrated commitment to graduate students and innovation in graduate education at Michigan, provide her with an extremely strong skill set to bring to the role of associate dean,” says Rackham Dean Mike Solomon. “I’m excited that Rackham and campus graduate programs will benefit from her ideas and leadership.”
Chin’s award-winning scholarship has addressed some of the most pressing issues in modern European history, specifically the massive socio-cultural effects of postwar labor migration on European nations and their struggles to come to grips with the radical demographic diversity it produced. Her research and writing has been supported by major foundations, including the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (2007–08), the American Council for Learned Societies (2010–11), and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (2018–19). Her publications include the books The Guest Worker Question in Postwar Germany, After the Nazi Racial State: Difference and Democracy in Germany and Europe, and The Crisis of Multiculturalism in Europe: A History, in addition to numerous published book chapters, articles, and reviews.
“I’m thrilled to be joining a team at Rackham committed to fostering excellent graduate education at Michigan,” Chin says. “I’m especially excited to think creatively about how to support DEI initiatives for graduate students and to help broaden the career outcomes for all U-M master’s and Ph.D. graduates.”
Chin has served the Department of History in many capacities, including as fellowships chair of the graduate program (2013–14, 2016), associate director of graduate studies (2016), director of graduate studies (2016–18), and director of career diversity and professional development (2018–2019). In 2017, she was awarded an Undergraduate Teaching Award by the department. Of particular note is her work as the director of graduate studies to expand career opportunities for history graduate students beyond the professoriate. This initiative resulted in a two-year program supported by the American Historical Association for internships in academic administration, which will help the Department of History build an alumni network and database, design curricular innovations to hone transferable skills, and create more in-term internships with local partners.
Chin has served as an advisory board member of the Center for European Studies/EU Center (2004–05, 2011–14), as well as a faculty associate of both the Center for European Studies/EU Center and the Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies. She is currently a member of the executive committee for the Institute for the Humanities (2018–19). She has also served on selection committees for Rackham and for the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts; the School of Education; the Institute for Research on Women and Gender; and the International Institute, among others.
She earned her bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, in history at the University of Washington in 1990, earned her master’s degree in history from the University of Washington in 1992, and completed her Ph.D. in history at the University of California, Berkeley in 1999. Chin served as an assistant professor in the Department of History at Oberlin College from 1999 to 2003. In 2003, she joined the faculty at Michigan as an assistant professor in the Department of History, and she was promoted to associate professor in 2008 and to professor in 2017.