Lee Feinstein arrived at the university in 2014 as dean of the IU School of Global and International Studies. Eight years later, after announcing he will step down at the end of January, he leaves behind the rebranded Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies and a legacy of engagement with faculty and students.
“It’s just been so gratifying to be part of building something new,” Feinstein said. “To be part of IU’s hundred years plus of globalism and to be part of deepening and extending that, that has just been a tremendous honor.”
The amount of global and international studies students has doubled since Hamilton-Lugar School opened, Feinstein said. There’s around 11,000 students and about 120 faculty members. IU is ranked number one nationally for the 80 foreign languages it teaches, and the Hamilton Lugar School is ranked for its three language flagship programs.
He said he is proud of the ethos environment of the Hamilton Lugar School, perpetuated by the humility of the students.
“They really associate with the school, and they associate with its mission,” Feinstein said of the students. “They associate with its globalism. They’re very proud that it teaches so many languages.”
Shruti Rana, the Hamilton Lugar School assistant dean for curricular and undergraduate affairs, said Feinstein has helped the school become a leading hub in global studies.
“He can be extremely proud of what he’s built,” Rana said. “He’s put together this really unique school that combines global and international studies and where we have these experts in almost every region of the world.”
Rana said the ability to thoroughly learn about global issues from a place in the midwest like IU is unusual. Many of the similar leading schools for international studies are on the east coast, but she said she attributes this success to Feinstein’s leadership.
“Our goal is to create principal leaders who will go out there and change the world in all sorts of amazing ways,” she said. “We can give them that foundation here.”
Senior Lecturer Iman Alramadan said she credits Feinstein for creating a close and supportive community where faculty feels they are heard.
“He listens to everybody,” she said. “I feel that I’m equal to him. You don’t feel that he is above you. You feel that you are here, you are equal and he will listen to you. And he takes everything you say into consideration.”
Alramadan said Feinstein’s way of thanking and encouraging faculty makes the school feel like home to her. She keeps a handwritten thank-you note Feinstein wrote her because it motivates her to continue her hard work in Arabic studies.
She said Feinstein is close to students as well as faculty.
“Believe me, I have never seen a dean hold office hours to interact with students,” Alramadan said.
Feinstein has also worked closely with one of the Hamilton Lugar School namesakes, former Indiana Congressional Rep. Lee Hamilton. Hamilton said he worked with Feinstein in Washington, D.C., and intermittently since Feinstein moved to Bloomington.
Hamilton said Feinstein has shown outstanding leadership and has helped make the school one of the leading international institutions.
“He’s been a pleasure to work with,” Hamilton said. “He has certainly emphasized the importance of the role of the United States on the world stage.”