Provost Dan Myers will step down from his position in June
CAS Dean Peter Starr will serve as acting provost
Update: This story has been updated with comments from Peter Starr.
Dan Myers will leave his position as provost and return to the faculty as a full-time sociology professor at the end of June, President Sylvia Burwell announced in an email Monday.
College of Arts and Sciences Dean Peter Starr will take his place as acting provost.
Burwell wrote that Myers will be concluding his provost duties on June 30, and Starr will assume the role of acting provost for a two-year term beginning July 1. Myers has served as provost since January 2019, and Burwell said that he contributed to significant developments across the AU community.
“Provost Myers played an important role in the implementation of our strategic plan, enhanced our research profile and helped set a new record for external funding,” the email said. He also “hired our first chief online officer to expand digital education opportunities” and “supported the move of the School of Education to a stand-alone entity.”
Myers assisted with the University’s coronavirus response through facilitating online learning by transitioning more than 2,000 classes online, Burwell wrote.
As CAS Dean, Starr has been “instrumental” in the development of the Hall of Science and growth of the AU museum, Burwell wrote. Prior to his role at AU, Starr was a French professor at the University of Southern California, where he served as interim dean for the Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.
Starr said in an interview that Myers stepping down was “not something that was expected,” but he has done a “terrific job.”
“Change is often hard, but things happen, people’s lives happen,” Starr said. “Dan [Myers] has done a great job, he’s actually a really nice guy, and he’s beloved by the faculty.”
Starr said that transitioning to the acting provost position during a pandemic is not something that anyone can train for, but it will be “critical” that the faculty remains fully invested in solving problems caused by COVID-19.
“It is very unlikely we’re going to have a normal semester,” Starr said. “In fact, there’s no likelihood that we will, so the question is how we are going to be best prepared for the level of face-to-face interactions that we can have. It’s nonstop Zoom meetings after Zoom meetings and thinking through all the moving parts.”
AU has been thinking about how to effectively pursue online education for 10 years, Starr said, so this is a continuation of everything that AU has been working on, but in a different environment.
As acting provost, Starr plans to develop Burwell’s strategic plan, addressing the pandemic, and expanding on AU’s strengths of experiential education, the STEM fields, and diversity, equity and inclusion.
AU spokesperson Stacie Burgess told The Eagle in an email that Starr was chosen to be the next acting provost because he is “widely respected throughout the AU community and has deep understanding of the institution.”
“His experience and relationships will be invaluable as acting provost, and he will have an immediate impact on our work,” Burgess said. “We are fortunate to have a dynamic group of academic leaders who will be partners with Dean Starr and continue leading our schools and colleges as we deliver the high-quality AU education to our students.”
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.