I have been focused this academic year on celebrating and continuing to encourage a number of important themes in our community. One is resilience — demonstrated by our community’s ability to return this past fall, after a year and a half of relative isolation under complex pandemic conditions, to a “new normal” campus experience, and abide by critical health and safety measures to protect us in and out of the classroom.
I have also strongly emphasized prioritizing our culture of empathy. Though we returned eagerly to campus this year, I know it has not been an easy transition. However, we have offered robust support for each other through the continued challenges, enabling us to advance our academic mission and remain positioned for future success as an institution.
Now, with just weeks remaining in the school year, I encourage you to devote your energies to crossing the finish line of the semester. For our graduating students, May 15 – Commencement on the National Mall – likely feels incredibly near, and the next phase of your lives and careers is about to begin. Academic resources remain available to you as you finish the semester, including Academic Commons, the Office for Student Success, the Writing Center, and Disability Support Services (DSS).
As always, if needed, the CARE Team allows all members of the community to submit a care referral for any student who may need additional support beyond assistance with classwork, so I encourage you all to keep this valuable resource in mind. Also available to speak with our students are counselors with Counseling and Psychological Services.
Of course, you must not forget to look after yourselves during this busy time. The Human Resources website and Faculty Affairs website have resources that will help you continue to navigate challenges and changes.
New opportunities within the Office of the Provost
Beyond this semester, exciting developments are ahead within the Office of the Provost that likely are of interest to faculty. Searches for several roles supporting the Provost have launched or will be launched soon.
We are looking internally for candidates for the first three roles, so I encourage any interested faculty who meet the requirements to apply.
You likely are familiar with the vice provost for faculty affairs role, which oversees the needs and well-being of faculty from recruitment and hiring through promotion (and tenure where appropriate) and retirement. The vice provost works with faculty, the provost, deans, the Office of the General Counsel, and other campus leaders to build an academic culture of excellence rooted in the accomplishments of our faculty members. The appointee will understand and enforce the Faculty Code in all matters pertaining to expectations for faculty and their relationship with the university. This role is open to tenured faculty applicants.
Graduate and postdoctoral affairs
As an institution, we have renewed our commitment to strengthening the graduate and postdoctoral student experience and ensuring our graduate education reflects market demand for professional training, both locally and nationally. The vice provost for graduate and postdoctoral affairs is a new position that will provide strategic leadership in developing, evaluating, and promoting our graduate and postdoctoral programs. This role will work to strengthen the critical symbiosis between graduate education, postdoctoral training, and research. The vice provost will build a new Office of Postdoctoral Training, which will assist schools and colleges in hiring and training postdoctoral fellows, as well as oversee the Office of Graduate Scholarships and Fellowships. This role is open to tenured faculty applicants.
Undergraduate affairs and special programs
Primary management of the undergraduate student body will remain within the schools and colleges. The new associate provost for undergraduate affairs and special programs will oversee specific programs within the Office of the Provost as well as other central initiatives that promote improvements in our undergraduate education. The associate provost will oversee the Honors Program and Women’s Leadership Program, including the students, faculty, and staff who are responsible for the curricula and programming for these units, and will convene the undergraduate deans of the schools to coordinate discussion and joint strategic planning of priorities. This role is open to full-time faculty applicants.
Budget and finance
The vice provost for budget and finance will work closely with the provost, vice provosts, and deans to construct academic budgets that promote and sustain academic and research excellence at the university. The vice provost will establish budget priorities supporting the academic mission and promoting financial transparency, in partnership with offices across the university. Under the direction of the vice provost, the university’s academic and student affairs enterprises will be guided by short- and long-term financial plans that support the development, assessment, and attainment of institutional goals.
Deans of the School of Nursing and the College of Professional Studies
External search firms have been engaged and search committees have been formed, or are in the process of being formed, to hire permanent deans for the School of Nursing and the College of Professional Studies. The goal is to have candidates selected by the beginning of the 2022-23 academic year.
I look forward to sharing more information in the future about these critical developments in our administration.
My best wishes for a productive end of the semester.
Christopher Alan Bracey
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
Professor of Law