Provost's New Year's Update

Dear Faculty and Staff,

I hope that everyone had a restful and celebratory break. The end of each year is a great time to reflect on achievements from the past year as well as on the opportunities that lie ahead. As we look forward, I want to announce some updates about several important academic positions.

I have heard many comments about a positive change in the “feel” of RISD this year. Through the process of the development and faculty endorsement of our Strategic Plan, many feel a new palpable optimism.  In addition to creating this map for our future, through this process we also initiated many conversations that brought people together who often don’t meet. I look forward to continuing to build this kind of collaboration as we further implement the plan.

In numerous conversations with individuals throughout the academic community I have heard strong interest in sustaining this positive direction for RISD. As everyone knows, there are several leadership positions currently filled with interim administrators. Those who have stepped in to serve RISD have done so with full commitment, intelligence, and a work ethic that has helped us to achieve so much this past semester.  Many faculty and staff members have inquired about sustaining these individuals in their roles.

I am pleased to confirm that Patricia Phillips has agreed to continue in her role as interim Associate Provost for Academic Affairs. Patricia has made tremendous contributions to the academic community on many fronts, in particular developing the realms of research and public engagement. Additionally, Patti made significant contributions to advancing the Strategic Plan, while also overseeing the process of our NEASC interim accreditation. These highlight just a few academic areas that Patti has masterfully overseen.

Patti’s willingness to continue in this interim role means that we will continue with an interim Dean of Graduate Studies. After receiving very positive feedback from Graduate Program Directors and Department Heads in the Graduate Division, I have asked Brian Goldberg to serve for a second term as interim Dean and he has agreed. Feedback across the board has expressed appreciation for Brian’s dedication, fairness, and commitment. My own experience of Brian’s work as a Dean, as well as the experience of his colleagues in the Academic Affairs Council has further reinforced this positive reaction to Brian’s work this year.  Similarly, Anais Missakian, has also received unanimous support from her departments about her work as interim Dean of Fine Arts. Anais has been a major contributor to our work in the Academic Affairs Council and to the continued and final work of the Strategic Plan. Anais’s deep experience and understanding of RISD, and her strong leadership and representation for Fine Arts have been invaluable assets. I am, therefore, pleased to announce that Anais, too, has agreed to continue as interim Dean for a second year.

As the third interim Dean, Bill Newkirk, has decided to return to his role as a faculty member next year, I am glad that we will still retain significant consistency in our administrative ranks while we search for a new Dean of Architecture and Design and for a Provost. Please join me in expressing thanks to Patti, Brian and Anais for their willingness to continue in interim roles to help to lead our academic community.

Happy 2012 to all!



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