You are here: American University President Announcements May 25, 2018 Memo

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Memorandum May 25, 2018

AU Community
Sylvia M. Burwell, President
Appointment of Interim Provost and Acting Dean of Academic Affairs

I am very pleased to announce the appointment of professor and dean Mary Clark as interim provost, beginning July 1, 2018. Dean Clark is professor of law at American University Washington College of Law and currently serves as AU's dean of academic affairs and senior vice provost, a post she has held since 2014.

Dean Clark teaches women's legal history, legal ethics, judicial politics, and property, and publishes in the fields of women's legal history and judicial politics. Clark has served as associate dean for faculty and academic affairs at the law school, director of the law school's Doctor of Juridical Science program, and acting director of its Law and Government program. Before joining the WCL faculty, Clark was a visiting lecturer and research scholar at Yale Law School, a Supreme Court fellow with the Federal Judicial Center, a teaching fellow and adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center, and an appellate attorney with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. A graduate of Bryn Mawr College (AB magna cum laude) and Harvard Law School (JD), she clerked for the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Montgomery, Alabama.

As dean of academic affairs and senior vice provost, Clark has been an influential leader whose service has positively affected the university in many ways. She has served on the most recent presidential search committee as well as the searches for three deans, the strategic planning subcommittee on external partnerships, and the RiSE Leadership Steering Committee. She was also a member of the Ad Hoc Term Faculty Committee on the Faculty Manual and currently is an ex officio member of the Faculty Senate, as well as a member of the Deans' Council and President's Council.

Mary Clark has demonstrated that she is a distinguished scholar and teacher, influential leader, and team player. I am confident that she will help us maintain momentum during this period of change, while we complete the search for a new provost. (For more on the status of the search, please see the update from the co-chairs sent last week.)

In addition, to assist during this transition, we are most grateful that Professor of History Lisa Leff has agreed to serve as acting dean of academic affairs and senior vice provost. Professor Leff is completing a term as acting dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, while Dean Peter Starr was on sabbatical.

Leff joined American University's Department of History in 2009. She teaches a wide range of courses in European history, and her research focuses on Jewish history in modern France. She has written two books and edited two others, including The Archive Thief: The Man Who Salvaged French Jewish History in the Wake of the Holocaust (Oxford, 2015), which won the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature and was a finalist for a National Jewish Book Award. She has served as president of the Society for French Historical Studies and is associate editor of the journal Jewish History. She is a graduate of Oberlin College (BA) and the University of Chicago (MA, PhD). In 2017, Leff was named American University's Scholar-Teacher of the Year, the university's highest faculty honor.

Please join me in congratulating Mary Clark and Lisa Leff as they assume their new roles. We appreciate their steadfast leadership and service to the AU community.