Sharmistha Bagchi-Sen to join ASU as director of the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning

Every new academic year brings new faces to the university. For the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, new faces will not only be in the classroom but also leading the school as Sharmistha Bagchi-Sen has been named director, a role she will assume starting July 1.

Prior to joining ASU, Bagchi-Sen served as professor in the Department of Geography at State University of New York at Buffalo. Her time there also included a stint as chair of the department from 2010 to 2016 and service as co-director of the Institute for Research and Education on Women and Gender.

“Dr. Bagchi-Sen brings with her a wealth of administrative and leadership experience. A top-notch scholar and visible researcher, she is the perfect person to lead the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning into the future,” said Pardis Mahdavi, dean of the social sciences for The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

A human-geographer, Bagchi-Sen’s research specifically touches upon the topics of urban and economic geography. Her current research focuses on analyzing the relationship between demographic shifts and socio-economic outcomes, which is work that she will continue to investigate at ASU.

Her past research has focused on foreign direct investment in the United States followed by the study of the drivers and barriers of innovation in various high technology industries, including the biopharmaceutical and bioenergy sectors. Bagchi-Sen focuses on industry studies with a deep interest in understanding how industrial change affect regions. In recent years, she has undertaken research on shrinking cities in the deindustrialized parts of the United States to investigate the relationship between population and economic decline. In doing this research, she has also examined the debates surrounding local-regional policy and planning options.

Bagchi-Sen’s research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, and she has held long-established collaboration with scholars in the United Kingdom and Sweden. In 2020, she served as program director for the Human-Environment and Geographical Sciences with the National Science Foundation, a position that involved managing proposals submitted to several programs and participating in broader discussions within these programs about future directions, a position that will be coming to an end with Bagchi-Sen’s transition to becoming school director.

“Dr. Bagchi-Sen is joining our school at a time of incredible growth and opportunity,” said Elizabeth Wentz, dean and vice provost of ASU’s Graduate College, who for the last year has also served as interim director for the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, where she also holds a faculty position. “I look forward to seeing how she will expand our research and programmatic opportunities. Her research accolades and administrative experience will be of great benefit to the unit, our faculty and especially our students.”

“I am inspired by ASU's reconceptualization of 21st-century higher education and the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning’s dedication toward inclusivity, excellence and broader societal impact,“ said Bagchi-Sen. “I hope to work with everyone in the school to continue to achieve excellence in research, teaching and service (and) maintain visibility of the school at ASU and within the discipline.”

Megan Martin
mamarti3@asu.edu