Michael Fein is dean and professor of history in the John Hazen White College of Arts and Sciences at Johnson & Wales University. Fein is a college educator, administrator and published historian with research interests in 19th and 20th century American political history, public policy, transportation and infrastructure. As dean, he supports academic programming that combines theory with pragmatic, field-relevant experience. As professor of history, Fein has taught American History surveys (1607-1877; 1877-1945; 1945-present), American Government and Politics, Cultural History of Corporate America, Multicultural History of America, and Critical Thinking. While at Brandeis University, Fein held a Crown Fellowship as well as a Fellowship in Contemporary History, Public Policy, and American Politics from the Miller Center for Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. Before joining the faculty at Johnson & Wales, he taught at Babson College and Brandeis University and served as a Research Associate at Harvard Business School.
Public Works: New York Road Building and the American State, 1880-1956
Fein’s dissertation, “Public Works: New York Road Building and the American State, 1880-1956,” examined the link between infrastructure and political development. The project used New York State as a case study to explore the expansion of state capacity, providing a historical perspective on the development of New York’s massive public works program, from the paving of the first state roads to the construction of the Thruway. In so doing, Fein shed light on the ways in which public construction helped to reconfigure landscapes and communities, as well as political and economic structures. From that study, he drew important insights on a vital question in policy history: How have the units of the state addressed modern problems that are national in scope but local in implementation?