Dean, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
James Schiffer joined the State University of New York at New Paltz in July 2008 as Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences hosts departments and programs in the humanities and social sciences, offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in a variety of disciplines. The departments and programs in the college include Anthropology, Asian Studies, Black Studies, Communication and Media, Communication Disorders, Economics, English, Foreign Languages, Geography, History, Journalism, Nursing, Philosophy, Political Science and International Relations, Psychology, Sociology and Women’s Studies. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is the largest of the six schools on campus with more than 2,600 declared majors in the Spring 2008 semester. As a result, the college provides many of the General Education Program courses at SUNY New Paltz.
Prior to his arrival at New Paltz, Schiffer was professor and head of the English Department at Northern Michigan University in Marquette from 2000 to 2008. He taught courses in Shakespeare, Renaissance Literature, Composition, and Literary Theory. Schiffer has also taught at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia (where he was chair of the English Department and Elliott Professor of English), Blackburn College in Illinois, and St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y.
Schiffer is currently editor of the “New Variorum Edition of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night,” which will be published by the Modern Language Association. In addition, he is the editor of the forthcoming collection “Twelfth Night: New Critical Essays” with Routledge. In recent years, he led a seminar on “Political Sonnets” at a conference of the Shakespeare Association of America and was awarded a Folger Library summer fellowship. He has participated in several programs sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities, and he was also president of the Michigan Association of Departments of English.
Among his publications are several essays on Shakespeare's poems and plays, as well as the following books: “Foul Deeds,” an academic mystery novel co-authored with Susan Schiffer (under the pen name Susan James); a study of the work of contemporary novelist Richard Stern; and the edited collection “Shakespeare's Sonnets: Critical Essays.” In 1999, Schiffer conceived and directed “Sonnet Variations: A Performance of Shakespeare's Sonnets,” which his cast performed in Virginia, Georgia and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. In 2000, he directed a videotape of the show for Films for the Humanities and Sciences.
He earned his Bachelor of Arts in English summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania in 1973, his Master of Arts in English from the University of Chicago in 1974, and his Doctorate in English from the University of Chicago in 1980.
Schiffer lives in New Paltz, N.Y.