Serving as Director of the University Center for Human Values and associated faculty member in the Department of Classics and the Department of Philosophy and on the executive committee of the Program in Classical Philosophy.

Academic Service

Melissa Lane became Professor of Politics at Princeton University on 1 August 2009, and was named to an endowed professorship as Class of 1943 Professor of Politics as of 1 July 2014.  On the same date she became Associate Chair of the Department of Politics, in which role she served for two calendar years.  On 1 July 2016 she became Director of the University Center for Human Values, and began a second four-year term in this role on 1 July 2020 (though from that date through 30 June, 2021, she was on leave, during which time Michael Smith, McCosh Professor of Philosophy, served as Acting Director).  She is also an associated faculty member in the Department of Classics and the Department of Philosophy, and serves on the executive committee of the Program in Classical Philosophy. Outside Princeton, she serves as Chair of the Executive Committee of the Joint Centre for History and Economics, Cambridge University, and as a member of the advisory committee for the Center for Population-Level Bioethics, Rutgers University. 

At Princeton, Professor Lane was the founding director of the University Center for Human Values’ undergraduate certificate program in Values and Public Life, and has been a faculty advisor for the Marshall, Gates, and Mitchell fellowships.  She is co-convenor of the Princeton Climate Futures Initiative, based at the Princeton Environmental Institute, and growing out of a research community on ‘Communicating Uncertainty: Science, Institutions, and Ethics in the Politics of Global Climate Change, sponsored by the Princeton Institute of International and Regional Studies. She was a Trustee and member of the editorial board of Princeton University Press from 2015-2019, chairing the board in 2018-19. 

She has also served at Princeton on the Executive Committees of the University Center for Human Values, the Program in Classical Philosophy, the Program in Hellenic Studies, the Program in Law and Public Affairs, the Program in Political Philosophy, and the Princeton Writing Program, and also on the Tanner Lectures Committee. She is or has been an Affiliated Faculty member of the High Meadows Environmental Institute and of C-PREE (the Center for Policy Research on Energy and the Environment), and Associated Faculty member of the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies and of the Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies, Vice Chair of the Board of the Center for Jewish Life, and Faculty Fellow of Rockefeller College.

In 2014-15, she co-chaired the Service and Civic Engagement Self-Study Task Force as part of the President’s Strategic Planning Initiative for Princeton University, and then co-chaired the Service and Civic Engagement Steering Committee established by the university to advance the numerous recommendations accepted from the task force report.  In 2013-14 and continuing, she served on the Princeton Entrepreneurship Advisory Committee, co-chairing its subcommittee on curriculum and co-curriculum, which provided a key recommendation endorsed in the final report published in May 2015.

From 2012-15, she was a member of the Steering Committee of the Hanadiv Humanities Initiative, of the Yad Hanadiv Foundation.  From 2011-14, she was a member of the Executive Council of the Foundations of Political Theory section of the American Political Science Association, and in 2014-15 she chaired the APSA Benjamin Lippincott Award committee.   In 2015 she joined a working group on climate change of the SSRC (Social Sciences Research Council) which concluded in 2019; in 2021-22 she is a senior member of a climate change research initiative based at Harvard University.

Before coming to Princeton, Professor Lane taught political thought for fifteen years in the Faculty of History of the University of Cambridge, where she was also a Fellow of King’s College and Associate Director of the College’s Centre for History and Economics (now a joint Centre/Center with Harvard University).  While at Cambridge, she served for two years as the Academic Secretary of the Faculty of History, responsible for the undergraduate teaching program and for many other aspects of the Faculty’s work, and also served for two years as an elected member of the University Council, which is the highest governing body of the University of Cambridge.  She was for four years a Syndic of the Cambridge University Press and a member of the Management Board of the Cambridge Programme for Industry (now the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership).

Professor Lane is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (FRHistS) and also a Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of the Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (FRSA: not an honorary election).  She is a member of professional associations including the American Historical Association, the American Philosophical Association, the American Political Science Association, the Britain and Ireland Association for Political Thought, and the International Plato Society.

Public Service

  • 2020-ongoing: member, Princeton Mutual Aid; February 2021-ongoing: tutor for high school diploma equivalency exam.
  • 9 July 2018: Lead presenter, UK Civil Service Leadership Academy Seminar, “The Idea of Public Office”; London, England
  • 2 May 2018: Panelist, “What Can the Ancient World Teach Us about Living Sustainably?’ co-presented by J. Paul Getty Museum and Zócalo Public Square; Getty Villa, Los Angeles
  • 20-21 March 2018: Lead presenter, Industrial Areas Foundation Workshop on own monograph, The Birth of Politics; Phoenix, Arizona
  • December 2007: Contributor to consultation convened by the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Business and Human Rights; Geneva, Switzerland