Professor Sam Crane to serve as next director of WEPO

Cameron Pugh

Photo courtesy of Sam Crane.

Professor of Political Science Sam Crane will serve as the next director of the Williams-Exeter Programme at Oxford (WEPO), President Maud S. Mandel announced in an all-campus email on Monday. He will succeed Professor of Philosophy Bojana Mladenovic, who has held the position since August 2022.

Crane’s tenure as director of WEPO will last two years and will begin July 1, 2024, Mandel wrote. Mladenovic will continue to serve as director in the interim, completing her two-year term at the end of the 2023–24 academic year before returning to her professorship in the philosophy department.

As director of WEPO, Crane will act as the primary academic and personal advisor for the 26 juniors who enroll in the program each year. In addition to his title as director of WEPO, he will also hold the title of Supernumerary Fellow at Oxford — a position for senior members of the faculty who “hold their Fellowship in virtue of their distinction in research, or, in a few cases, their senior administrative responsibilities in the University or College,” according to Oxford’s website. As part of his administrative responsibilities, Crane will work with other fellows at Oxford to arrange students’ tutorials and will reside near Williams’ students on campus.

Crane has served as a professor in the College’s political science department since 1989. During his 34-year tenure, he has taught classes on Chinese politics, East Asian international relations, and ancient Chinese philosophy. Most recently, his research has focused on early Chinese philosophy.

He has also held a variety of leadership positions at the College, having chaired the political science department, the Asian studies department, and the global studies program. He led the Summer Humanities and Social Sciences Program, a five-week summer program for incoming first-years from underrepresented backgrounds, and served on the Faculty Steering Committee as well as the Committee on Educational Policy. In an email to the Record, Crane said that he believes these experiences will be helpful as he learns “the ins and outs” of an English institution.

Crane expressed excitement about leading WEPO, noting that it is “something [he has] thought of doing for some time.”

“I visited Oxford in 2008 and was amazed [by] the place and the program,” he continued. “[I’m] happy that the timing now works for me and my wife to live and work there for two years.”

Crane, who has spent time abroad in China, said that he was also excited about the opportunity to live overseas again — particularly alongside students. “I enjoy living in places other than the United States,” he wrote. “Although most of my overseas experience has been in China, living and working in the U.K. will be refreshing and, at times, challenging. All for the good! I look forward to sharing that experience with a tight-knit group of Williams students.