April 20, 2020

Dr. Carol J. Erting to step down as Provost on June 30, 2020

In October 2019, I announced that Dr. Carol J. Erting had informed me of her intention to step down as Provost on June 30, 2020. Since then, Dr. Erting has continued her efforts to lead Gallaudet University into the future. This past year, she worked tirelessly to lead and support Academic Affairs administrators and faculty in the restructuring of Academic Affairs from two schools and 16 departments to five multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary clusters.

The University Faculty supported this plan on March 2. One month later, Provost Erting and I announced that we are moving forward with the academic restructuring, and I shared my intention to announce the plans for the future leadership of Academic Affairs after the end of Dr. Erting’s term.

The process of managing the transition for the provost position began in earnest immediately after Dr. Erting’s announcement. Starting last fall through January of this year, I held several dialogue sessions with a select group of leaders from the Faculty Senate Executive Committee (SEC), Academic Affairs staff, and the chair of the Gallaudet Staff Council (GSC) to develop a framework and structure for this transition period. In addition, I held direct conversations with members of the Academic Affairs Senior Administrators (AASA). This led to the design of the process where I invited faculty to nominate leaders to be considered for interim provost.

I thank the members of our community for participating in this process to assist us with moving forward with a significant leadership transition at this unusual time with the Covid-19 pandemic. I also thank members of our community who nominated excellent internal leaders to serve as interim provost. The shared commitment to our future was evident throughout this process. I am truly grateful.

Three key goals guided my decision:

  1. ensuring that we continue to have strong shared stewardship of Gallaudet’s future;
  2. continuing to support our faculty, staff, and students as we navigate through restructuring; and
  3. using this transition period to develop leaders for the benefit of Gallaudet’s future.

The University Faculty supported this plan on March 2. One month later, Provost Erting and I announced that we are moving forward with the academic restructuring, and I shared my intention to announce the plans for the future leadership of Academic Affairs after the end of Dr. Erting’s term.

The process of managing the transition for the provost position began in earnest immediately after Dr. Erting’s announcement. Starting last fall through January of this year, I held several dialogue sessions with a select group of leaders from the Faculty Senate Executive Committee (SEC), Academic Affairs staff, and the chair of the Gallaudet Staff Council (GSC) to develop a framework and structure for this transition period. In addition, I held direct conversations with members of the Academic Affairs Senior Administrators (AASA). This led to the design of the process where I invited faculty to nominate leaders to be considered for interim provost.

I thank the members of our community for participating in this process to assist us with moving forward with a significant leadership transition at this unusual time with the Covid-19 pandemic. I also thank members of our community who nominated excellent internal leaders to serve as interim provost. The shared commitment to our future was evident throughout this process. I am truly grateful.

With these goals in mind, I am pleased to announce the following leadership changes that will continue the wonderful work that has begun under Dr. Erting’s leadership. These appointments will continue to position Gallaudet as a global leader of bilingual education for deaf students of all identities.

Dr. Jeffrey W. Lewis to be our Interim Provost

Dr. Jeffrey W. Lewis, ’76, currently professor and acting chair of the Department of Counseling, will serve as Interim Provost. Dr. Lewis will assume this role on July 1, 2020, and will begin working immediately with Dr. Erting to ensure a smooth transition. He has agreed to serve for up to two years. During this time, we will fully implement Academic Affairs restructuring and further set the foundation for The Gallaudet Promise.

Dr. Khadijat Rashid to be our Interim Dean of the Faculty

Dr. Khadijat Rashid, ’90, now Dean of the School of Education, Business, and Human Services, will serve as Interim Dean of the Faculty. She has also agreed to serve for up to two years. Other Academic Affairs senior administrators will remain in place, including Dr. Thomas Horejes, Associate Provost for Student Success and Academic Quality; Dr. Gaurav Mathur, Dean of Graduate and Continuing Studies; and Ms. Amy Malm, Dean of the Library. In addition, current department chairs have agreed to continue in their roles for academic year 2020-2021. They will report to interim Dean of the Faculty Rashid.

I have asked Interim Provost Lewis and Interim Dean Rashid to work closely with outgoing Provost Erting, the Academic Affairs Senior Administrators, and the Faculty Senate Executive Committee to ensure that the full academic leadership, including that of the five new schools, is in place before this summer. Please look for additional communications from them in the very near future.

Office of University Communications and the Office of Undergraduate Admissions to be integrated.

I also want to support our undergraduate admissions function in the context of this significant restructuring and the changes in Academic Affairs leadership. Accordingly, I have decided to integrate the Office of University Communications and the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, Ms. Brandi Rarus will assume the newly-created position of Chief Marketing and Undergraduate Admissions Officer, and will oversee both University Communications and Undergraduate Admissions. Dr. Genie Gertz, ’92, will serve as Interim Dean of the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and Outreach, and has agreed to serve up to two years. She will report to Ms. Rarus. The net effect of these changes is to create a more robust mechanism for promoting the Gallaudet brand to our potential students and our internal and external audiences.

I will work closely with the new Academic Affairs leaders to advertise these academic leadership positions by Fall 2021. This will give us time to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, implement Academic Affairs restructuring, and learn from our experiences before designing the next leadership structure.

I want to thank Provost Erting for her steadfast leadership and shared stewardship for the heart of Gallaudet University’s mission. I appreciate her generosity in sharing her wisdom and experience in supporting this transition. Given these unusual times, an in-person celebration of her contributions is not possible before her term ends. In consultation with AASA and the Faculty SEC, I will announce alternate plans for her recognition in the near future.

Please join me in welcoming Dr. Lewis, Dr. Rashid, Ms. Rarus, and Dr. Gertz to their new roles. I am confident that they will lead us ably and with utmost commitment and integrity as we implement these exciting changes in our academic structure and position ourselves for continued greatness.

Sincerely,

Roberta J. Cordano
President