Letter to the LMU Community: Leadership Update for the Office of the Provost

Letter to the LMU Community
Dec. 14, 2017

Dear Colleagues,
During my first six months at LMU, I have had the opportunity to study the institutional landscape and consult with many individuals and groups on campus about ways to optimize the support that administrative units bring to our academic endeavors. Today, I share with you a few of the organizational changes being implemented in the Provost’s Office as a result my own reflections and the valuable consultations I’ve enjoyed having during my first semester.

Before doing so, I would like to thank President Snyder, members of the President’s Cabinet, the Deans Council, faculty colleagues from across the university, and especially the Faculty Senate Executive Committee for their wise counsel that helped lead me to these decisions. I would also like to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of my entire team which includes Enrollment Management and Student Affairs. In the context of this memo, I would specifically like to thank the current Academic Affairs leadership team in the Provost’s Office. They are:

  • Michael O’Sullivan, vice provost for Academic Affairs, who has worked diligently on supporting the CORE curriculum, student academic honesty, part-time faculty affairs, and course scheduling. Mike recently indicated to me that he is eager to return to the Department of Psychology and resume his passion for teaching, research, and working with students, which he will do so after a well-earned sabbatical that will begin next summer. During the upcoming spring semester, however, Mike will provide crucial support in assisting me in implementing many of the transitions described in this message.

  • Margaret Kasimatis, vice provost for Strategic Planning and Educational Effectiveness, whose broad skill set and experience in administration has benefited LMU in ways too numerous to list, and who – as we recently announced – will take the next step in executive leadership this coming February as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Saint Mary’s College of California. Again, we offer Margaret our deepest gratitude for her many contributions at LMU as well as our heartfelt congratulations for her new position in Catholic higher education.

  • Deena González, associate provost for Faculty Affairs, who has mentored hundreds of new faculty at LMU through her development and implementation of the New Faculty Orientation program, overseen the support of faculty through internal grant opportunities, administered processes that support faculty sabbaticals, and rank and tenure, and assisted with professional development for faculty in their roles as department chairs. Deena will continue this important work through the academic year and then enjoy a well-earned sabbatical. We appreciate her many contributions.

  • John Carfora, associate provost for Research Advancement and Compliance, who has been instrumental in our efforts to develop research capacity and who has worked with faculty and staff to increase the volume of externally-funded research at LMU. John has expressed to me a long-time desire to retire, and I will be honoring his request at the end of the academic year. We appreciate his strong support of LMU faculty research.

  • Maria Cano, assistant provost for Budget and Planning, who provides budget support for all the schools and colleges at LMU and whose skill in finance and management has allowed our office to support many innovative and important academic programs. Maria will continue her important work in the Provost’s Office.

  • Ricardo Machón, special assistant to the provost for Undergraduate Education, who has provided steadfast leadership in study abroad, the University Honors Program, undergraduate research programs, and national and international fellowships. Ricardo will continue in this important work during the spring semester, completing the two-year commitment he generously offered the Provost’s Office in June 2016.

  • David Sapp, special assistant to the provost for Undergraduate Education, who has served the Provost’s Office by overseeing the growth of the Academic Resource Center and its various programs of student academic support, the Office of Disability Support Services, and the Katz Family Academic Skills Program.

  • Amber Astredo, executive assistant to the provost, who has served an instrumental role in my transition to the university and done so with grace and humor. Amber will be taking on additional responsibilities as Executive Assistant to the Provost and Office Manager beginning January 1.

Each of these individuals is to be commended for their ongoing commitment to the university and to the constituencies they serve. With the exception of Vice Provost Kasimatis who is leaving at the end of January, each of them will continue their work and responsibilities in the Provost’s Office during the spring semester.

As you can see from the following chart, a new organizational structure will be established in the Provost’s Office, implemented in several phases over the next semester.

Abbreviated Academic Affairs org chart

In four of the five positions described below, open searches will be conducted in early 2018 with job descriptions and position announcements announced and posted. I hope to receive nominations, including self-nominations, from members of the LMU Community.

Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
Reporting to the provost, the vice provost for Academic Affairs will serve as chief of staff to the Provost and will have broad oversight of Assessment and Decision Support, four of LMU’s Interdisciplinary Centers, AFROTC, Strategic Planning, Faculty Research and Professional Development, and Undergraduate Education. I am delighted to announce that David Sapp, Professor of Educational Leadership in the School of Education, will serve in this role, beginning January 1, 2018, allowing time for overlap with Mike O’Sullivan for one semester’s transition. David is the ideal member of the LMU faculty to serve, lead, and provide continuity in this position. In addition to his current service to LMU as Special Assistant to the Provost for Undergraduate Education, David is a prolific, interdisciplinary scholar and an outstanding teacher who has held tenured faculty appointments at the highest rank in both undergraduate (in the English Department at Fairfield University) and graduate education (in the School of Education at LMU). David also formerly served as Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, reporting to the Provost, at Fairfield University, where he led successful initiatives on undergraduate retention and graduation, strategic planning, academic support services, and student-faculty collaborative research. Throughout his career, David has led and successfully fundraised for programs that support low-income and first-generation students. At LMU, David has served on over 14 committees and brings a hands-on, service-oriented disposition to the position. David has enjoyed a remarkable career as a teacher, scholar, and administrator both here and abroad, some of which is described online at the Provost’s website. Please join me in congratulating David and welcoming him to his new role.

Vice Provost for Global-Local Initiatives
Reporting to the provost, the vice provost for Global-Local Initiatives will serve as the senior international officer at LMU and will have broad oversight for study abroad and national and international fellowships. The vice provost will also be responsible for collaborating with all stakeholders to realize the university’s vision for comprehensive internationalization as communicated by President Snyder, the strategic plan, and through several committee and task force reports created over the past seven years. An open search will be conducted to fill this position.

Vice Provost for Graduate and Professional Education
Reporting to the provost, the vice provost for Graduate and Professional Education will have oversight of Graduate Studies and LMU Extension, including programs that fall under Extension such as Continuing Education and the Center for Religion and Spirituality. The Vice Provost will work closely with the Deans and faculty to optimize structures for collaboration between departments and schools/colleges and to explore new programs of education such as short-form non-credit courses and certificate programs. An open search will also be conducted to fill this position.

Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education
Reporting to the vice provost for Academic Affairs, the associate provost for Undergraduate Education will provide administrative leadership in all areas of undergraduate education, including first-year programs, academic resources, disability support services, the Honors Program, the CORE Curriculum, retention and graduation initiatives, and academic honesty. Working in collaboration with the Deans, Student Affairs, and other units of the university, the associate provost will ensure opportunity and success for all phases of the undergraduate experience. An open search will also be conducted to fill this position.

Associate Provost for Research and Professional Development
Reporting to the vice provost for Academic Affairs, the associate provost for Research and Professional Development will oversee administrative functions and provide support for full- and part-time faculty, rank and tenure, undergraduate research, graduate student research, faculty research, and professional development in teaching. Offices and committees that fall under the associate provost’s purview include the Office of Research and Sponsored Projects, the Center for Teaching Excellence, Institutional Review Board, Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, and Center for Teaching Excellence. The associate provost will also lead New Faculty Orientation and the Rains Research Assistant Program. An open search will also be conducted to fill this position.

Each of these positions represents some degree of change from the existing organizational structure, and I thank you in advance for your patience as we fill the positions over the next six months. Ultimately, this future group of professionals will not only be my team, but they will be your team as well, in service to the students and faculty of LMU. I look forward to partnering with you to establish a team who will work dynamically, collaboratively, and collegially with each other and with the LMU Community to advance our mission and provide the best experiences possible for our students, faculty, and staff.

Thomas Poon, Ph.D.
Executive Vice President and Provost