Simmons Named Faculty Director of General Studies Program

October 21st, 2021

Dorrance Dean Alain-Philippe Durand is pleased to announce Dr. Caleb Simmons as the next Faculty Director of the Bachelor of General Studies program in the College of Humanities.

Simmons is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies in the Department of Religious Studies and Classics, specializing in religion in South Asia, especially Hinduism. The appointment began Aug. 16, 2021.

The Bachelor of General Studies program offers students a broader, multidisciplinary course of study rather than a traditional major/minor. The flexible degree program prepares students to think critically and analytically across a wide range of disciplines or fields of study. Students can select from six different areas of emphasis: Arts, Media, and Entertainment; Economy and Industry; Global and Intercultural Understanding; Science, Technology, Health, and Society; Social Behavior and Human Understanding; and Sports and Society.   

Simmons’ commitment to interdisciplinary pedagogy is reflected in his extensive teaching experience across a variety of disciplines. He has taught courses within the fields of Religious Studies, History, Art History, and the broader Humanities. Simmons also brings extensive experience with online instruction. He has embraced online instruction, having developed online versions of four of his courses, employing various digital technologies to introduce students to a wide range of literary, visual, and material sources.

“I’m extremely excited to lead the Bachelor of General Studies program. The BGS program is home to one of the most innovative degrees on campus. BGS students design their own course of study to better prepare them for the demands of the ever-evolving workforce. I’m inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit of BGS students, and I look forward to working with them in this new role,” Simmons said. 

In 2020, Simmons was awarded the University of Arizona’s Early Career Award. His publications include the 2020 book Devotional Sovereignty: Kingship and Religion in India (Oxford University Press), which examines how the late early modern/early colonial court of Mysore re-envisioned notions of kingship, territory, and religion, especially their articulations through devotion and Singing the Goddess into Place: Locality, Myth, and Social Change in Chamundi of the Hill, a Kannada Folk Ballad (State University of New York Press).

Simmons has participated and taken leadership roles in his department and the college, serving as Chair of DAC and Co-Chair of the COH Study Abroad Advisory Committee. He has also served in elected faculty governance at the highest levels, as both Faculty Senator and member of the Committee of Eleven, and is currently a fellow in the Academic Leadership Institute.

Please join Dorrance Dean Durand in congratulating Simmons and welcoming him to the position of Bachelor of General Studies Faculty Director, as well as thanking the members of the search committee (Committee Chair Kim Jones, Daniel Gonzales, John Leafgren, and Jeremiah Webb).