Robert C. Lieberman, from Columbia University, has been appointed the University’s fourteenth Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs. President Ronald J. Daniels announced this appointment in an email sent to the JHU community this morning.
Lieberman will replace interim provost Jonathan A. Bagger, who is also the Vice Provost for Graduate and Postdoctoral Programs and Special Projects and the Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Physics and Astronomy.
“Rob brings a scholarly record and leadership experience, clearly marked with the ‘excellence gene,’ that will make him a wonderful partner for me and the university’s senior leadership team as we work to advance our mission,” Daniels said in a statement.
The position of Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs is designed to serve as the chief aid to the President, and to oversee the various academic realms of the university. “The provost’s job is chief academic officer, so it’s the person who’s in charge of being essentially the guardian of the academic enterprise,” Dennis O’Shea, Executive Director of Media Relations and Crisis Communications, said.
In this vein, President Daniels was concerned with choosing someone who would safeguard and promote the academic missions of the University. “President Daniels was primarily looking for somebody who would be a great leader of the faculty, … somebody who’s a scholar, but also an established academic leader, and obviously a person who would be a great communicator, and a person passionate about the things a university can do,” O’Shea said.
Daniels appointed a search committee, chaired by David W. Andrews, Dean of the School of Education, and Michael J. Klag, Dean of the Bloomberg School of Public Health to select a new provost. The committee included representatives from each of Hopkins’s 10 schools, as well as student representation. Junior George Alvarez, a biophysics major, represented the undergraduate student body, and the School of Medicine’s Katie Washington represented the graduate student population on the search committee.
“That committee then did the initial … triaging of applications and nominations, working with the search consultant,” O’Shea said. The search committee, in collaboration with the consulting firm Russell Reynolds, then composed a short-list of candidates who were then interviewed.
Following the committee’s presentation of its recommendations, Daniels recommended Lieberman to the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees, which approved his appointment.
He is currently the interim Dean of Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs and a professor of political science and public affairs.
“He has been a department chair, vice dean for academic affairs, and, for more than a year, interim dean. In those capacities, he has had hands-on experience leading and supporting a school’s academic infrastructure,” Daniels wrote to the JHU community. “His accomplishments include overseeing a strategic planning process, a major curriculum review and a $60 million budget. He has been intimately involved in the hiring, review, promotion and tenure of faculty and in faculty governance issues. He brings experience from a policy and programmatic perspective in areas such as faculty development, faculty quality of life issues and faculty diversity.”
Moreover, Daniels highlighted Lieberman’s qualifications regarding cross-disciplinary leadership. “Provost-designate Lieberman is adept at working productively across academic boundaries. At SIPA, he brings together scholars and students in 11 disciplines – ranging from the social and natural sciences to law, regional studies and urban planning – to form a cohesive, globally focused public policy school. This experience is important to Johns Hopkins, which is broadly committed to collaboration across disciplinary and organizational boundaries,” Daniels wrote.
Lieberman expressed his excitement to assume the Provost position. “I’m thrilled about the opportunity to work with President Daniels and am eager to join Johns Hopkins and meet my new colleagues,” Lieberman said in a statement. “The provost’s No. 1 job is maintaining and advancing the academy quality of the university, and that starts with working with the faculty.”
Lieberman pointed out the University’s historical contributions to academia, and expressed his eagerness to work towards continuing this trend. “Johns Hopkins has been at the cutting edge of American higher education for more than 135 years, generating knowledge and applying ingenuity to the biggest questions we face as an increasingly global society,” Lieberman said in a statement. “I’m excited by the challenge of helping a great university determine how and where it will make its next contributions.”