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Provost - Open Dore E-Newsletter [Vanderbilt University]

January 2015

Dear Faculty and Staff Colleagues,

Welcome to the first issue of The Open Dore, my official monthly newsletter – launched in 2015 to bring in the new year!

I chose to name the newsletter The Open Dore for two reasons. First, it is my hope that you will view my office as always having an open door. I believe that building partnerships and collaborations is the best way to take on any challenge and further our discovery and learning missions. I look forward to meeting more of you and to building those partnerships in the days ahead.

Second, for me the image of an open door has special meaning. Throughout my life, my family and mentors have always encouraged me to be open to possibilities. I’ve come to realize that I’ve made the biggest leaps in my own development by walking through the doors that others have opened for me. I found one of my first such doors when I was at the University of Iowa where I was encouraged to pursue a biochemistry major.

Since then life has taken me through a number of doors, the most recent one bringing me to the Provost’s office.

Over the next few years, we will go through many of these doors together. And, I hope to open many doors for each of you. The implementation of the Strategic Plan and the VU-VUMC restructuring will bring both great opportunities and positive change to our campus.

As we take this journey together, I will use this newsletter to keep you apprised of new developments from the provost’s office. The newsletter will also serve as a forum for discussing some of the most pressing topics impacting Vanderbilt and higher education today. If you have ideas for the newsletter or feedback, please do not hesitate to share them with me.

In this first edition let me take the opportunity to share with you a few highlights from this past semester. Together, we:

  • Built the Provost Team with the addition of John Geer as vice provost of academic and strategic affairs and expanded roles for Vice Provosts Cynthia Cyrus, Douglas Christiansen and Tim McNamara.
  • Launched the “Action” phase of the Academic Strategic Plan with the call for trans-institutional pre-proposals (100+ submitted!), Chancellor Faculty Fellows nominations, and creation of the Immersion, Cross-College Teaching and Staff Advisory committees.
  • Launched searches for several leadership positions including dean of the College of Arts and Science and dean of the Ingram Commons.
  • Met a number of students, staff, and faculty members during events throughout the semester including Tortellini Tuesday, the Melodores’ performance at the opening of Warren and Moore, a women’s soccer match, and the Summit on Human Trafficking to name a few.
  • With an eye on toward the future, we launched study groups to craft visions for the future of the Graduate School and the Libraries.

Everyone has been so welcoming during my listening tours and my first semester as provost. Let me express my most sincere gratitude. I look forward to the days ahead and to many open doors.

Best regards,


Tim McNamara appointed to vice provost for research, faculty and international affairs. Tim will assume oversight of many aspects of the vice provost for research domain that were formerly managed by Dennis Hall who stepped down in December.

Other News

Staff advisory board to provide guidance on Academic Strategic Plan

Future of the Libraries Committee named and charged with charting the course ahead.

Dean of the Ingram Commons search underway.

Search committee for the next dean of the College of Arts and Science announced

Graduate Education Study Group launched to align the Strategic Plan with the future of graduate education.

New program launched to support faculty at critical career stage


More about my journey to the Provost’s office, approach to balancing the sciences and humanities, growing up in Iowa and more.

Cynthia Cyrus named vice provost for learning and residential affairs. Cyrus is focused on coordinating the development of the undergraduate residential experience as additional phases of faculty-led living and learning communities emerge.

The Trans-Institutional Program call for pre-proposals was launched in November. The TIPS initiative is part of the Academic Strategic Plan and is designed to foster collaboration in tackling society’s biggest challenges.

John Geer named vice provost for academic and strategic affairs. Geer will focus on launching and implementing the Academic Strategic Plan, faculty issues and will serve as interim dean of the Graduate School.

More than 100 faculty members are involved in the Strategic Plan serving on committees dedicated to exploring cross-college teaching, immersion experiences, the future of the libraries and more.


Doug Christiansen named vice provost for university enrollment affairs. Christiansen will help integrate academic systems, policies and processes across the university.

Office of the Provost  |  vanderbilt.edu/provost

Helpful Links

Provost Website
Advisory Committees
Search Committees
Strategic Plan Committees

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