College appoints new provost

College+appoints+new+provost

Ian Morse

S. Abu Turab Rizvi

Courtesy of S. Abu Turab Rizvi

A presidential search committee and a 9-month process culminated with Abu Rizvi’s appointment to provost beginning in January.

After a nine-month search, the college announced last week that it had selected S. Abu Turab Rizvi, a former economics professor at the University of Vermont, to become Lafayette’s new provost, effective January 2015.

“I’m really excited about joining Lafayette,” Rizvi, formerly the dean of the honors college at Vermont, wrote in an email. “Lafayette has an outstanding reputation and the possibility of leading its academic program…was very attractive to me.”

“Rizvi was very warmly received by the community,” President Byerly, chair of the Provost Search Committee, said. “People felt he had a wonderful combination of administrative experience, scholarly interest, and a real understanding of what a liberal arts college is.”

Rizvi has taught at UVM since 1987 and specializes in microeconomics, ethics, and game theory, and said that he finds Lafayette his next logical destination.

“I share the campus’s enthusiasm for its ongoing goals and the new directions Lafayette is conceiving under President Byerly’s leadership,” Rizvi wrote in an email. “Because of [my] longstanding commitment toward liberal education coming to Lafayette seems natural to me.”

Some of Rizvi’s actions at his previous university are similar to current projects at Lafayette, such as that to create curricula to engage in active learning. Rizvi uses his position in administration to reach out to students in different ways.

“For me, administration is another way of being an educator,” Rizvi wrote in an email.

Byerly recalled that the search committee spent about a month deliberating the description of the position.

“The provost search was in many ways the most elaborate of the several search processes that we’ve undertaken over the last two months,” Byerly said.

The committee was looking for qualities in a provost that would fit with the college, including commitment to education, communication and administrative abilities, and scholarship that would worthy of a tenured position.

Byerly said she sees Rizvi’s experience in at Vermont as one that gave him a clear understanding of a liberal arts school, although Vermont’s student body is much bigger.

“[Rizvi] has the experience of being in a larger environment…but as one who was overseeing the honors college within the university…that was an intensive experience of a liberal arts education,” Byerly said.

Rizvi is currently writing a book about creating a meaningful liberal arts education for students with uncertain futures.

“My writing is based on teaching and talking with students and their professors,” Rizvi wrote in an email. “I hope that having considered what makes for a good education I’ll be a more thoughtful and informed participant in conversations at Lafayette.”

James Klimek, a member of student government, represented the student body in the committee and believed they were searching for someone with administrative experience that Lafayette could not offer.

“My predominant job was to serve as the student voice,” he said. “We wanted someone with administrative experience that surpassed what anyone on campus had, as I understood.”

The Provost Search Committee was comprised of Byerly, four faculty members, four administrators, two hired consultants, one trustee and James Klimek ’15.

Rizvi will enter his position in the college on January 20, 2015.

The previous provost, Wendy Hill, announced that she was leaving to become the head of the Agnes Irwin school in Rosemont, PA last December.