“Truly fortunate to have been a member of the Drew family.”
April 2020 – After 20 years of dedicated service to the University, Provost Debra Liebowitz will be leaving Drew at the end of the semester, President MaryAnn Baenninger announced today in an email to the University community. Liebowitz will become the provost at Quinnipiac University, a private university in Connecticut that serves more than 10,000 students in its College of Arts and Sciences and eight professional schools, this July.
“Since I met Deb in 2014, I knew that she had very strong leadership potential. This appointment is a culmination of her work at Drew as a scholar, teacher, advocate, partner, team-builder, steward and collaborator with students, faculty, staff, trustees, senior leadership, alumni and community members alike,” said Baenninger. “All of us in our extended Drew family will miss Deb’s leadership, commitment and spirit; however, it’s clear that the Quinnipiac position is the next and proper step—and a wonderful opportunity—in her trajectory as a university leader.”
Liebowitz joined the Drew community two decades ago as an assistant professor of political science and women’s and gender studies. Two years later, she received the President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching. She steadily progressed up the academic ladder, directing the University’s women’s and gender studies program, chairing the CLA’s diversity committee, playing a leadership role advocating for LGBT students, leading Drew’s lauded U.N. Semester program from 2006 to 2010 and directing the Thomas H. Kean Summer Intern Fellows Program from 2008 to 2014. Liebowitz also led the team that developed our international relations major, and served on many other committees.
She achieved the rank of full professor in 2015. Around that time, Liebowitz began taking on administrative duties, first as associate dean for curriculum in the CLA, where she led the redesign of the first-year undergraduate experience, increased partnerships and academic opportunities and created structure for and managed the development of Drew’s 2016 Middle States Commission on Higher Education Periodic Review Report.
Then as associate provost, Liebowitz fully evaluated the University’s academic structure with the goal of creating an integrated leadership architecture, which led directly into her 2017 appointment by President Baenninger as provost and dean of the CLA and Caspersen School.
Under her leadership as provost, Liebowitz implemented a division-wide approach to redesign Drew’s academic structure while reducing administrative expenditures, created an integrated academic leadership team that successfully brought the programs in the all three schools more organically in concert with the academic direction of the University, created an academic program development process that was evidence-informed and responsive to market dynamics, led the multi-year development of Launch, strengthened the Caspersen School of Graduate Studies to turn around declining net tuition revenue and worked closely with the leadership of the Theological School to do the same, enhanced digital learning and integrated support for digital scholarship and pedagogy and oversaw the hiring of the most diverse cohorts of new Arts & Sciences faculty in the University’s history.
Liebowitz expressed the bittersweet nature of the decision. “To state the obvious, the COVID-19 crisis has been an exceptionally challenging time, but it has once again made evident to me the strength, intelligence, care, resilience and creativity of the Drew community,” she said. “I’m especially grateful to President Baenninger for recognizing my leadership qualities, mentoring me through my many new roles and supporting me in this transition, as well as to the members of my outstanding academic affairs team—and so many others—for their collaboration over the years,” she went on. “I have been truly fortunate to have been a member of the Drew family.”
A succession plan for leadership of the University’s academic division is currently being finalized.
The extended Drew community congratulates Provost Liebowitz on her appointment and wishes her the best in her new position.