By: Soondos Mulla-Ossman ~Staff Writer~
Dr. Melissa J. Baumann has been named Xavier’s new provost. Father Michael Graham, president, made the announcement Friday, selecting Baumann from a field of eight finalists. She will start June 15.
The provost, a position unknown to many students yet vital to the fabric of the university, is the chief academic officer (CAO) of the university. Provosts are responsible for the creation and implementation of the academic priorities for the university and for the allocation of resources that would support those priorities. In other words, the provost works to ensure that everything in the day-to-day happenings surrounding students, including clubs, events and academic programs, continue to run smoothly.
Baumann is currently Assistant Provost for Undergraduate Studies at Auburn University in Alabama, where she also serves as director of the Auburn University Honors College. She also has an extensive record prior to joining Auburn in 2013, such as serving as an administrator and faculty member at Michigan State University.
“Melissa’s impressive academic profile and 25 years of experience as an administrator and faculty member certainly made her a strong candidate for me and members of the Provost and CAO search committee,” Father Graham said in a statement to The Business Journal. “Those credentials, combined with her genuine passion for students and enthusiasm for advancing our Jesuit mission of forming men and women for and with others, make her the absolute right choice for Xavier.”
Baumann will succeed Scott Chadwick, who stepped down on June 30, 2016, to become a tenured professor. He has since left the university and is now working for a crowd funding campaign in New York.
While the position was empty, Brian Levin-Stankevich served as the university’s interim provost and CAO. He has a Ph.D in history and was selected from among active retired academic leaders referred through the Registry for College and University Presidents.
Baumann earned her M.S. and Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering at Case Western University in Cleveland in 1986 and 1988, respectively.
Graham stated in his message to students that he looks forward to Baumann’s stepping into the central role “in the life and future of Xavier.” Baumann looks forward to working with Xavier, and Father Graham also encourages everyone to assist and support Baumann in successfully transitioning into her new role.