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Faculty Excellence Chris McCauley April 30, 2024

Walter Ward

Walter Ward, Ph.D., will serve as the next chair of the Department of History in the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s College of Arts and Sciences.

Ward is currently a professor in the department and has served as a faculty member since 2010. His research interests include the Mediterranean/Near East during antiquity and the early medieval period, as well as early Christianity and Islam.

Ward earned a B.S. and an M.A. in History at North Carolina State University, as well as a B.A. in Chemistry. He then went on to earn both an M.A. and Ph.D. in History from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

Ward is a celebrated and award-winning scholar with his first book, The Mirage of the Saracen: Christians and Nomads in the Sinai Peninsula in Late Antiquity, earning the prestigious Phi Alpha Theta Best First Book Prize. In addition, Ward has published numerous book chapters and peer-reviewed articles in publications including the Journal of Ancient History and the Journal of Late Antiquity.

According to Ward, studying history can benefit students in many ways. “History teaches how our social, cultural, religious, and political structures came into being. It also teaches methods of communication and critical analysis that are vitally important for our society. I think that anyone who wants to better our world should become a student of history,” said Ward.

Over the past 15 years, Ward has taught a wide range of courses for the department—including “The Roman Revolution” and “Arabia, Islam, and the Byzantine Empire”—and has mentored dozens of undergraduate and graduate students. Now, he is looking forward to taking on a new role and further supporting his colleagues.

“I’m excited to serve as chair of the Department of History starting in the fall. Our department is filled with excellent teachers and scholars, and I can’t wait to help them achieve their goals,” said Ward.

“I am looking forward to Dr. Walter Ward’s leadership of the Department of History. As a long-term member of the faculty, he is known for being an excellent scholar, devoted mentor, and engaged campus citizen,” said Kecia M. Thomas, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “I know that he will collaborate effectively with his colleagues to develop a strategic plan that meets the needs of our students for years to come. I am very grateful for the excellent leadership of Dr. Jonathan Wiesen and congratulate him on many years of service at UAB.”

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