Steve Hanson, who has advanced William & Mary’s global relevance for more than a decade, will step down from his current role at the end of the academic year to return to teaching and to focus on his scholarship about global regime change.

Hanson, who serves as vice provost for academic and international affairs and W&M’s Lettie Pate Evans Professor of Government, has worked at the university since 2011, primarily leading its international efforts as director of the Reves Center for International Studies. His last day as vice provost will be June 30, 2022.

“With Steve at the helm of the Reves Center, William & Mary’s global reputation blossomed – with increased resources for study abroad and global research and a broader international community of partners, friends and alumni,” said W&M President Katherine A. Rowe. “The W&M Democracy Initiative – an anchor of Vision 2026 – is shaped in important ways by his collegial vision. 

“His strategic awareness, ability to get things done and generosity have benefited William & Mary in countless ways.”

As director of the Reves Center from 2011 to 2021, Hanson championed the university’s internationalization efforts. His work to build partnerships around the globe helped support W&M’s global education and engagement efforts as well as the growth of the Global Research Institute and the Whole of Government Center of Excellence on National Security. He also served as co-director of the W&M Democracy Initiative, which aims to make W&M a place where challenging topics can be discussed civilly and respectfully.

“I want to thank Steve for his many contributions to William & Mary during more than a decade of service he devoted as a member of the university’s leadership,” said Provost Peggy Agouris in a campus message. “Since his arrival in Williamsburg in August 2011, he has been a stalwart supporter of all things international at W&M. … I wish him great success as he returns to his academic career and know he will make great contributions in the future.”

William & Mary achieved international recognition during Hanson’s tenure. In 2016 NAFSA: Association of International Educators awarded William & Mary its prestigious Senator Paul Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization. Named for the late Senator Paul Simon of Illinois, NAFSA’s Simon Award recognizes colleges and universities that are making significant, well-planned, well-executed and well-documented progress toward comprehensive internationalization — especially those using innovative and creative approaches across several areas, such as student and faculty access to a global education experience.

Seven times in the last decade, William & Mary has been the number one public university for undergraduate study abroad participation in the U.S., and despite the disruptions caused by COVID, is currently the #4 public university for study abroad. Nearly 60% of all undergraduates study abroad in their W&M careers. More than 750 undergraduate students study abroad each year in more than 50 countries around the world.

William & Mary more than tripled the number of its international students and scholars during Hanson’s leadership and increased the diversity of countries from which they come. Before the pandemic, each year more than 1,000 students, scholars, alumni and dependents are part of the university’s community. William & Mary currently has close to 600 international students enrolled, both graduate and undergraduate students, across multiple disciplines and professional schools. They represent more than 60 countries.

Hanson worked to increase financial support for internationalization, and the Reves Center currently offers approximately $700,000 annually for study-abroad scholarships as one of many efforts to reduce financial barriers.

Hanson has also prioritized safety and risk management, hiring the university’s first International Travel and Security Manager and spearheading the creation of the International Travel Policy.

“It has been the honor of my professional career to serve on this great university’s leadership team,” said Hanson. “Together we have significantly advanced William & Mary’s global reach and academic impact.”

Hanson is renowned expert in Russian and Soviet history and politics who has written numerous scholarly articles and books, including “Post-Imperial Democracies: Ideology and Party Formation in Third Republic France, Weimar Germany, and Post-Soviet Russia” and the award-winning “Time and Revolution: Marxism and the Design of Soviet Institutions.” He is often sought after by members of the press for his expertise, including his insights on current issues concerning Russia.

After leaving W&M, Hanson will serve as a visiting scholar at Harvard’s Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies for the 2022-2023 academic year. He will also work on a book about the causes of global regime change. He plans on returning to W&M following the completion of that work to again take on the role of the Lettie Pate Evans Professor of Government.

, University News & Media