James Shulman appointed ACLS Vice President and Chief Operating Officer


The American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) today announced that James Shulman will join the Council as Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Shulman, a Senior Fellow at The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and formerly the founding president of Artstor, will join ACLS on July 1, 2018.

James ShulmanShulman, a senior fellow at The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and formerly the founding president of Artstor, will join ACLS on July 1, 2018. As vice president, he will direct and manage all ACLS programs, operations, and governance procedures. He will work directly with program directors of Fellowships, Public Programs, International Programs, Philanthropy, the Humanities E-Book collection, Finance, and Web and Information Systems. Together with President Pauline Yu, he will represent ACLS to the academic community, policy makers, and the public, and will aid in strategic planning for the Societies’ future directions. “I very much look forward,” said Shulman, “to working with Pauline, the talented ACLS staff, and the scholarly societies that connect humanistic scholars within and across disciplines. My work has focused on blending the traditions of the academy with its future possibilities, and I can think of no better place than the Council to advance that work.” Shulman will succeed Steven Wheatley whose 32-year career at ACLS was recently celebrated at the Council’s annual meeting.

“It has been my great privilege to have Steve Wheatley at my side for the past 15 years; his abiding passion for the mission of ACLS has been an inspiration to us all,” said President Yu. “James Shulman’s impressive breadth and depth of experience map extraordinarily well onto all aspects of our work, and I look forward eagerly to partnering with him as we take ACLS into its second century.”

Mellon Executive Vice President Mariët Westermann noted Shulman's various contributions to the work of the Foundation: “In helping to define a new Mellon research initiative on the value of the liberal arts, in his own research on how to foster institutional entrepreneurship within higher education, and as the founding president of Artstor, James has brought a truly remarkable range of knowledge and experience to the sectors that the Foundation strives to serve. My colleagues and I will miss him very much but we are delighted that he will be helping to lead ACLS - the nation’s most important association for advancing the humanities.”


In addition to his work at Mellon on the impact of the liberal arts, Shulman is writing, The High Hanging Fruit; Financing and Implementing the Shared Infrastructure that Higher Education Needs (to be published by Princeton University Press). Prior to returning to Mellon, he led Artstor from 2001 until 2016. Created when many individual colleges and universities were beginning to digitize their own locally-created teaching slide libraries, Artstor provides more than two million images, software, and services to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities, and schools around the world and seeks to democratize access to the world’s cultural heritage.

While at Mellon from 1994-2001, Shulman collaborated with William G. Bowen and Derek Bok on The Shape of the River: Long-term Consequences of Considering Race in College and University Admissions (Princeton University Press, 1998), and coauthored (with William Bowen) The Game of Life: College Sports and Educational Values (Princeton University Press, 2001). From 1997-2001, he also assisted in the management of the Foundation's endowment and internal budgeting.

Shulman received his BA and PhD from Yale in Renaissance studies. His dissertation, which examined how heroes made decisions in the complex world of renaissance epic poetry, received the John Addison Porter Prize and forms the basis of The Pale Cast of Thought: Hesitation and Decision in the Renaissance Epic (University of Delaware Press, 1998). He also has written the introduction to Robert K. Merton's The Travels and Adventures of Serendipity: A Study in Historical Semantics and the Sociology of Science (Princeton University Press, 2003). Shulman serves on the board of the Renaissance Society of America, The Spence School, and the Yale Graduate School Alumni Association. From 2006-2015 he served as a trustee of Smith College; he also served on the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) Content Strategy Committee.


Formed to represent the United States in the International Union of Academies, ACLS includes representatives from the 13 learned societies that founded the organization and believed that a coalition of scholarly societies was the best possible combination of America’s democratic ethos and intellectual aspirations. Today, ACLS is a nonprofit federation of 75 scholarly organizations with a $120M endowment and a $26M operating budget. As the preeminent representative of American scholarship in the humanities and related social sciences, ACLS holds a core belief that knowledge is a public good. As such, ACLS strives to promote the circulation of humanistic knowledge throughout society. In addition to stewarding and representing its member organizations, ACLS fulfills this mission through granting fellowships in support of humanities and social science research and through far-reaching advocacy.