I am pleased to announce that I have decided to appoint Phyllis Peres, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies, to a two-year term as Interim Senior Vice Provost and Dean of Academic Affairs. Vice Provost Peres and Interim Senior Vice Provost Kay Mussell will work together to effect a smooth transition during the summer.
During the fall semester, I convened a search committee to permanently fill the Vice Provost & Dean of Academic Affairs position. The search committee identified two viable candidates for the position and both visited campus twice. In the end, after deliberation and consultation with the search committee and other members of the community, I determined that the strategic goals of American University would be best served by making an interim appointment at this time. We are fortunate to have a talented administrator at American University who is willing to step into this important position. I will communicate with the campus next week about how we will ensure that the work she has begun this year will continue during her service in her new position.
Phyllis Peres came to American University in July 2009 from the University of Maryland, College Park, where she was most recently Associate Provost for Academic Planning and Programs and previously Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies. At American University, she has led a campus-wide task force in reviewing and revising the General Education Program, taken an active role in strategic planning for curriculum change, and worked with the Honors Program, AU Abroad, and the Career Center to strengthen academic and support services for undergraduate students. She has also led the development of an enhanced Frederick Douglass Scholarship Program and recruited its first director, Larry Thomas.
I am grateful to Vice Provost Peres for her exemplary work this year and for her commitment to further the advancement of American University by assuming a significant set of responsibilities in an interim capacity.