The University announced on June 2 that Alanna W. Shanahan will be stepping down as the vice provost for student affairs on July 9 to work for her alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania, as the athletics director. Kevin Shollenberger, the current vice provost of student health and well-being, will serve as interim provost.
In an email to The News-Letter Shanahan described her career at the University, where she also worked as director of athletics and recreation from 2016 to 2019.
As athletics director, she led the University’s sports program to various achievements, such as 37 conference titles and three successive top-10 finishes in the Learfield IMG College Directors’ Cup. She took particular pride in that from 2018 to 2019, six teams finished in the top four of the country.
She noted that she also supervised the creation of the Blue Jays LEAD leadership development program for student athletes, as well as the redesign and expansion of the Ralph S. O’Connor Center for Recreation and Well-Being.
When writing about her time as vice provost, Shanahan reflected on the collaborative effort she led to craft the design and programming for the upcoming Homewood student center, with construction expected to begin this summer.
She and her Student Affairs team also worked to create the health protocols for student life and the Hopkins Social Compact in response to the pandemic.
Resident Advisor Shreya Narayan praised Shanahan in an email to The News-Letter for her willingness to address student concerns regarding University health restrictions.
“Vice Provost Shanahan gave very helpful suggestions and we discussed changes in policy and activities on campus that could help freshmen feel less lonely and interact more with their peers,” she wrote.
Narayan hopes that Shanahan’s successor will be open to dialogue with students and capable of understanding the student experience. She believes this will allow the next vice provost to solve problems productively.
Shanahan herself wrote that she hopes for a successor who will work to improve the undergraduate experience, increase diversity, continue to provide support for first-generation students and ensure that the Hopkins Student Center is operational by fall of 2024 and that the expansion and renovation of the Recreation Center is successful.
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Sunil Kumar wrote in an email to The News-Letter that the University is seeking a replacement who will honor Shanahan’s wishes regarding diversity and equity initiatives, first-generation and low-income students and the Hopkins Student Center.
Kumar also detailed how the University will choose Shanahan’s replacement, as well as the timetable for the search.
“We intend to conduct a national search over the summer to identify an outstanding leader to succeed Vice Provost Shanahan,” he wrote. “We will use an inclusive consultative process to ensure that student input is given appropriate weight in the selection of the candidate. We expect to complete the search by early fall.”