Dal restructures Provost's Office, student services

- October 31, 2014

Anne Forrestall, who will serve as interim vice-provost, student affairs. (file, Danny Abriel photo)
Anne Forrestall, who will serve as interim vice-provost, student affairs. (file, Danny Abriel photo)

For the past several months, Dal President Richard Florizone and Provost and Vice-President Academic Carolyn Watters have been communicating high-level details of an updated role for the provost within Dal’s administration. (See: “Implementing the provost model at Dal,” Sept. 4.)

As President Florizone explains: “By emphasizing the provost’s responsibilities, we ensure that our academic priorities drive decisions around allocating resources, renovating or adding new facilities, and other similar concerns. It makes our planning between academic and administrative units more integrated while providing a clearer and more efficient decision-making process.”

At last Tuesday’s Board of Governors meeting, the Board approved changes to the Provost’s Office that reflect this mission, and offer a sense of how the refocused provost role will shift how some key university functions are managed.

Realigning student support

The most noteworthy change is the creation of a new vice-provost, student affairs position that replaces the vice-president student services. In an email to all students, Dr. Watters explained the rationale for realigning Dal’s student service functions within the Provost’s Office, citing the cross-function nature of Dal’s priorities within its new Strategic Direction (specifically, helping more students succeed in their studies and complete their degrees).

See also: “Helping students succeed: Dal explores the retention question”

The change, writes Dr. Watters, “will help strengthen the relationship between our undergraduate student service providers and our academic operations. The vice-provost, student affairs will be a full member of both the Deans’ Council and the Provost Committee, ensuring student concerns have a voice in discussions and decisions with both our academic and non-academic administrative leadership and that we improve the connection of our undergraduate student service providers with Faculties and their deans.

“We believe this will provide a stronger voice for student issues and concerns at the place where they can have the most impact.”

Anne Forrestall, assistant vice-president of student academic success services and who had been serving as senior leader for student services since Bonnie Neuman’s retirement from the vice-president position, will serve as acting vice-provost, student affairs until such point that a search process has been completed for the position.

“Student learning takes place both in and out of the classroom, and in our work supporting students’ success we’re seeing how vital it is to consider the student experience as a whole,” explains Forrestall. “I’m excited for the opportunity to serve as acting vice-provost and expand on the work I’ve been doing at Dal this past year with the Student Services team.”

Integration in planning

The other change, explained Dr. Watters, is a simpler one: changing the title of the associate vice-president academic, planning, to vice-provost planning. “This title change reflects a growing need for institutional planning that spans academic and administrative units,” she wrote, adding that Susan Spence Wach (left) will continue in the retitled role.

The position works closely with university stakeholders in budget alignment and planning; strategic planning, leadership in project management of institutional initiatives; and has a leadership role in relationships between campuses.

The changes come after several months of discussion, including within Dal’s administration, with external reviews, and with university committees, offices and academic groups. The new roles do not result in any additional personnel.

For more on the Provost’s Office, visit its website.


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