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President's Message | Archive

May 7, 2008

Campus Community
FROM: Neil Kerwin, President
SUBJECT: Appointment of University Provost

I am pleased to announce that, following a national search, the new provost of American University will be Dr. Scott A. Bass, vice president for research and dean of the Graduate School at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), where he also holds the academic appointment as distinguished professor of sociology and public policy. He will assume his responsibilities at AU on July 1.

As chief academic officer, Dr. Bass will provide leadership for AU's six schools and colleges, the University Library, the Washington Semester Program, AU Abroad, the Center for Teaching Excellence, the Office of Enrollment, the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment, Sponsored Programs, the Office of the Registrar, and the Career Center.

In being named to the position, Dr. Bass said, "I am thrilled to join the AU community and become part of a dynamic leadership team forging an ambitious plan for the university's future. It is an honor to be selected as the chief academic officer of one of the nation's great academic treasures. With the support and engagement of all members of the AU community, including its friends and alumni, we can move forward into an academic golden age, reflecting a vision of the new American University—dynamic, diverse, inclusive, creative, and contributing in significant ways to a better global society."

As a key member of UMBC's senior management group, Dr. Bass has been deeply involved in all significant aspects of the university's academic mission. Through his work at UMBC, and in previous positions, Dr. Bass has developed an impressive knowledge of contemporary higher education. He has played a central role in shaping UMBC's strategic plan, which includes faculty development, undergraduate programs, and enrollment management.

Dr. Bass has managed a growing research and graduate enterprise at UMBC, with five major campus-wide research centers directly reporting to him. He has had overall responsibility for setting the vision and direction for graduate education and research, including recruitment, new initiatives, program and center reviews, academic policy, progressions, and graduation. He has been responsible for technology transfer, sponsored programs, compliance with state and federal scientific regulations, and collaborative research partnerships with federal laboratories, government agencies, other universities, and the private sector.

Since coming to UMBC in 1996, Dr. Bass has overseen the more than doubling of external grants and contracts (from $36 million to $89 million) and a tripling of federal research and development funding. In graduate education, he created recruitment strategies and new program initiatives that resulted in an 83 percent growth in graduate enrollments over the past eight years and launched campus-wide efforts that increased the representation of minorities and women in graduate education. In 2002, UMBC earned the Council of Graduate Schools/Peterson's Award for Innovation in Promoting an Inclusive Graduate Education Community.

Prior to UMBC, Dr. Bass served at the University of Massachusetts Boston for 17 years in a number of positions, including professor in the College of Public and Community Service, director of the Gerontology Institute, graduate program director of the PhD program in gerontology, and head of the Gerontology Center.

Dr. Bass earned a combined doctorate in psychology and education from the University of Michigan, where he also earned an MA in clinical psychology and a BA in psychology. A nationally known gerontologist, Dr. Bass has written or edited 8 books and 45 articles, earned a Fulbright Research Scholarship to Japan, and is a fellow of the Gerontological Society of America. He has served as coeditor of Aging and Social Policy and on the editorial boards of several other journals. In 2004, he was a visiting professor at Stanford University.
I commend the work of the 11-member Provost Search Committee, chaired by Professor Robert Griffith, and I appreciate the participation by the AU community in interviews, at forums, and through input to the committee. I also thank Dr. Jean Dowdall and the Witt Kieffer search firm for their assistance.

In closing and on behalf of our entire American University community, I extend my heartfelt thanks and convey our deep appreciation to our colleague, Interim Provost Ivy Broder. Dr. Broder has performed with distinction during a time of unprecedented transition over the past three years. Her knowledge, experience, and tireless commitment enabled AU to thrive and academically position itself for the years to come. The university community will find appropriate ways to express our appreciation and admiration in the coming weeks.

May 7, 2008 5:39 PM

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