President's Provost and Dean of Arts and Sciences Announcement, 6/26/17.


President’s Provost and Dean of Arts and Sciences Announcement, 6/26/17

I am very pleased to announce that, effective July 1, 2017, Dr. Debra Liebowitz will assume the role of Provost and Dean of Arts and Sciences at Drew University.  Dr. Javier Viera will continue as Dean of the Theological School, and he will also become Vice Provost.  It is with great pleasure and enthusiasm that I welcome both Deb and Javier to their new roles, and I pledge my own strong support for their work.

In the coming days, Deb will make an announcement about the remaining academic administrative positions and she will begin to conduct internal searches for the two Associate Deans of Arts and Sciences. In order to compete this process, she will solicit applications, and appoint a faculty committee with 4-5 members, to review the nominations. The committee will be divisionally representative and include at least one member who is identified with CSGS. The committee will review the nominations, and ultimately provide a short list with recommendations to the Provost/Dean. Final selection will be made by the Provost/Dean, in consultation with the Academic Leaders Group. These positions can be seen in the organizational chart which was shared with the faculty and staff at an open forum in May.

This summer we will also establish a provost’s office presence in Mead Hall, and we will begin to put into place the skeletal architecture of the new structure. Please note that all governance structures will remain the same until the relevant faculty and staff have had opportunities to discuss related changes. In her role as dean (as well as provost) Deb and her colleagues will assume responsibility for Chris Taylor’s responsibilities when he steps down from the deanship on June 30.

I remain especially grateful to the Academic Leaders Group (Chris Taylor, Deb Liebowitz, Javier Viera, Jessica Lakin, and Melanie Johnson-DeBaufre) for their work in designing the structure.  I am confident and excited about its potential to yield a healthy, productive, sustainable, and innovative model for academic affairs leadership and governance.  Our next University bylaws revision will make clear that the Provost is indeed the Chief Academic Officer, and that she maintains broad leadership authority for the academic success of the University, for faculty affairs, and for those structures and offices that support the curriculum and our students’ academic success.

I would also like to thank the faculty and staff who participated in the survey that I sent out about three weeks ago. In that survey, I asked these community members to express degrees of agreement or disagreement with my desire to forego an external search for provost, and with my intention to appoint Deb to the role. The survey results demonstrated agreement to pursue this less conventional approach to appointing a provost. It gave me a great deal of confidence in the collaborative nature of our community as this activity required very high demands on us for candor and transparency and our academic community was very thoughtful in their opinions and comments.

In conclusion, I affirm my excitement and support for this new structure and for Deb, Javier, and our other colleagues—those who thoughtfully designed the structure, and those who will be the first to lead in the various positions with the structure.  We have an enormous amount of work to do moving forward, and I sincerely appreciate the work and good will from all members of the community as we embark on this new effort. I am looking forward to our ability to provide updates later in the summer about the progress of the transition and particular goals for 2017-18.