Professor of Psychology and Walter A. Cromwell University Professor of Social Sciences Ruth Striegel will assume the role of provost on July 1, as announced by President Roth in an all-campus email on Jan. 24.
Current Provost Rob Rosenthal, who first joined the University’s Sociology Department in 1987, has finished his three-year term as provost and will resume his previous position as John E. Andrus Professor of Sociology. Rosenthal will be returning to professorship.
“I left after my term was up because I’m not a career administrator,” he said.
While the provost is sometimes selected from outside schools, this year it was decided that the position would be filled through an internal hire. President Roth put together a selection committee of faculty members and one student representative, WSA member Sam Ebb ’13, based on recommendations from other faculty. The committee then nominated individuals for the position and asked if those nominated wanted to be candidates. Roth then selected the provost from this list of candidates.
“Professor Striegel’s work embodies the Wesleyan ideal of using liberal learning to make a positive difference in the world,” Roth wrote in an all-campus email.
Striegel, who has been at the University for twenty-five years, has made a name for herself in the field of clinical psychology. After earning a PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of South Carolina, she held research positions in the Department of Psychology at Yale University and a clinical staff position at the Rothaar Clinic in Bad Berleburg, Germany.
She has edited three books, published over two-hundred articles and book chapters, and has had research cited in media outlets ranging from the New York Times to USA Today. In addition, she is the former president of the Academy for Eating Disorders and the Eating Disorders Research Society, has won several awards, and recently became Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Eating Disorders.
“[Provostship is] a wonderful opportunity to have a positive impact on Wesleyan,” Striegel said. “I absolutely love Wesleyan and what it stands for.”
Duties of the provost include recruiting and promoting faculty and reviewing the content of the curriculum. Hir main responsibility is to meet budget targets for faculty compensation, academic departments, athletic programs, and the libraries.
“The provost is in charge of the academic core of the University,” Rosenthal said.
The directors of the Office of International Studies, Office of Graduate Studies, Writing Programs, Center for the Arts, and the Graduate Liberal Studies Program as well as the University librarian, the Dean of Continuing Studies, and the Director of Athletics will report to and work with the provost. The provost then serves as a cabinet member in the Office of the President.
Striegel believes her academic background will factor into the way she conducts her duties as provost.
“I teach a course in positive psychology that has helped me think very deeply about how people change and how systems change; that background is very helpful,” she said.
She also explained her intended focus during her time as provost:
“I very much enjoy strategic planning, you know, thinking about the big picture,” she said. “So we have a strategic planning place that I connect with that focuses on practical idealism. I like to think about what that means. What does it mean to educate students for being citizens in a global world and leading positive change in the world? So I like to think about and look forward to working with the faculty and the students on conversations about what that actually means.”
Students who have taken courses with Striegel recognized her dedication to academia.
“From the short time I’ve known her, Professor Striegel’s passion for her work is apparent, and she is held in high regard by her students,” said Noelia Ortiz ’14.
Striegel expressed satisfaction with the current state of the University, but added that she wants to expand on the current initiatives.
“Nothing needs fixing,” Striegel said. “So many initiatives have already been done that I hope to expand. We have fantastic faculty. We have amazingly talented students. What can the person in this office do to make sure we optimize those resources? We can work on global issues and integrate international perspectives into the community.”