Nicole Stanton was chosen as Wesleyan’s 12th Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs in December. Stanton will begin in this position on May 15, 2020. She was selected from a pool of hundreds of applicants by a search committee chaired by Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer and Treasurer Andrew Y. Tanaka ’00 and Chair of the Faculty and Professor of English Sean McCann.
As provost, Stanton will serve as Chief Academic Officer and second-in-command to Wesleyan President Michael Roth ’78. In this role, she will oversee everything from academic departments and research to graduate programs, study-abroad programs, and the Wesleyan Athletic Department.
Since Stanton does not officially begin as the provost until May, she is currently working closely with the Interim Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Rob Rosenthal.
“It really is a great learning opportunity,” Stanton said. “I get an opportunity to sit in on meetings and sort of learn about all the departments, and when I started the job as Dean of Division One…that was one of my favorite things about doing the job: learning about what my colleagues do.”
Stanton began her career in 2004 as an Assistant and Associate Professor of Dance and Undergraduate Studies Chair at The Ohio State University before joining the Wesleyan community in 2007. At Wesleyan, she has served as Dean of the Arts and Humanities and as a professor of Dance, Environmental Studies, and African American Studies.
“As an educator, as a teacher, as an artist, and in my role as dean, my big focus has always been that it’s about communication and it’s about collaboration and open door policy,” Stanton said.
In an interview with The Argus, McCann expressed enthusiasm about Stanton’s work ethic, administrative capacity, and vision for the future of liberal arts education.
“What we most want is somebody who can understand the full range of research and teaching that exists at a place like Wesleyan and the distinctive educational, scholarly, and artistic models that we have here,” McCann said.
Roth echoed McCann’s praise of Stanton and her joining the administration.
“At a time of rapid change in our field and country, Nicole’s inclusive leadership style and focus on shared governance will be critical in helping Wesleyan strengthen and hone its distinctive brand of liberal education going forward,” Roth wrote in the Wesleyan newsletter. “She is the right choice at the right time for Wesleyan. I look forward to working with her.”
As Stanton prepares for her transition into this new role, she has two major goals that are interconnected. First, she hopes to reduce barriers for both students and faculty to feel included in the Wesleyan community. Second, Stanton hopes that students will come to her and voice their opinions and aspirations so that she can help create the change that is wanted and needed at Wesleyan.
“I’m really interested in hearing from people about what they hope for as things go along and to hopefully create multiple platforms so that we can be in conversation and community,” Stanton said.
Hallie Sternberg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.