To the College Community:
I write to acknowledge with regret Provost Abu Rizvi’s decision to conclude his service as Provost at the end of the 2018-19 academic year, and to thank him for his many contributions to the College in this capacity. Dr. Rizvi will return to the College as Professor of Economics following an academic leave next year.
Provost Rizvi joined the College in January 2015, and immediately assumed a key role in the Presidential Working Groups that preceded the development of the College’s strategic Affordability and Distinction Through Growth initiative. His work on the topics of competitive faculty salaries, enrollment expansion, and socioeconomic diversity helped lay the groundwork for the launch of the strategic direction in 2016, and his collaborative development of a Strategic Hiring Initiative has been highly successful in diversifying the faculty.
Provost Rizvi also was integral to the development of the program and thematic focus for the $75M Rockwell Integrated Sciences Center, the largest capital project in the College’s history, ensuring close collaboration with faculty throughout the process that will conclude this summer with the opening of this innovative academic building.
Under Provost Rizvi’s leadership, the faculty recently passed an academic plan that represents the culmination of more than two years of faculty retreats, discussions, and planning. Working with Dean of Curricular Initiatives Jamila Bookwala, faculty developed proposals in the areas of Data Science and Digital Scholarship; Sustainability; Design, Media and the Arts; Global Education; Humanities; and Inclusive STEM Education. The academic plan will provide guidance to the faculty expansion of the Affordability and Distinction through Growth initiative and help shape the curriculum of the College for many years to come.
The academic program will continue to benefit in the coming years from Provost Rizvi’s success in fundraising for key initiatives. Thanks to his efforts, we have added the Daniel and Heidi Hanson ‘91 Center for Inclusive STEM Education, the Bradbury Dyer III ’64 Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and several endowed faculty chairs. In addition, he spearheaded the multi-institutional Lehigh Valley Engaged Humanities Consortium, acquiring a $950,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support a group of colleges and cultural institutions in exploring cultural traditions of the Lehigh Valley.
Provost Rizvi has been a valuable strategic partner to me and trusted resource to the Board of Trustees in our pursuit of the College’s strategic direction. His strong advocacy for faculty and the academic program has been central to all of our discussions about advancing the College. I have greatly appreciated the professionalism, analytic rigor, and knowledge of higher education issues that he has brought to the Provost’s office and to my own senior leadership team.
Provost Rizvi will be succeeded by David M. ’70 and Linda Roth Professor of Mathematics and Dean of the Faculty John Meier, who will begin a two-year appointment as Provost on July 1, 2019. Dean Meier brings extensive administrative and faculty leadership experience to the position, and I am grateful for his willingness to serve in this new capacity. Over the coming months, Dean Meier will work collaboratively with Provost Rizvi on many of the major responsibilities of the role, ensuring a smooth transition in June.
We will have the opportunity to celebrate Provost Rizvi’s accomplishments at an event later this spring, but in the meantime I hope that you will join me in thanking Provost Rizvi for his dedication to the College and to the academic program.
President Alison Byerly