The Colgate Scene
March 2004

Roelofs named provost and dean of the faculty

The university's aggressive plan to position itself as the premier liberal arts university in the nation was one of the factors that led Lyle D. Roelofs to take the position of provost and dean of the faculty.

Roelofs' appointment as the university's chief academic officer was announced in January. He will join the administration on July 1.

Roelofs has served as associate provost at Haverford College, located just outside Philadelphia, for the past three years. He also is a physics professor and the Haverford Distinguished Professor of computational science.

"He is a great fit for Colgate at this time in its history," said President Rebecca Chopp. "A distinguished scholar, Lyle is a prizewinning teacher who has a reputation for being successful at helping students learn. A person of integrity, Lyle's administrative talents are highly regarded by all who know him."

As provost and dean of the faculty, Roelofs will have the primary responsibility for faculty personnel, curriculum, information technology, and supervision of instructional budgets. He also will serve as the chief officer of the university in the president's absence.

Roelofs replaces Jack Dovidio, who has held the position for the past three years. Dovidio is taking a leave after the end of the academic year to pursue new research opportunities in the department of psychology at the University of Connecticut.

"Jack's insight and leadership were especially valuable in drafting the university's new strategic plan," President Chopp said. "Both as an administrator and as a scholar, Jack has been outstanding in his service to Colgate. He is held in high esteem throughout the university community, and will be sorely missed."

Roelofs will be called on to help implement the strategic plan, a working blueprint that will guide the university for the next three to five years.

"I admire the strategic plan's design for fostering academic excellence, because it will carry the institution forward by taking advantage of the very accomplished faculty already in place at Colgate," said Roelofs. "The plan emphasizes new opportunities for the faculty to develop interdisciplinary combinations and initiatives that will be productive and energizing."

Roelofs has been a member of the faculty at Haverford since 1982, moving through the ranks of assistant professor, associate professor, and professor positions. In 1993, he was named the Haverford Distinguished Professor of computational science and was reappointed to that position in 1998. His research is in the area of surface physics, the study of the outermost atomic layers of solid materials.

He believes that Colgate should make it known that it has aspirations for becoming the very best school of its kind in the nation. "I regard the willingness to be clear to the world as a positive attribute," he said.

Roelofs is excited about the prospect of working with the faculty on the creation of new institutes, which would support faculty scholarship, bolster the university's reputation, and increase the potential for greater student involvement.

He also plans to participate in an examination of faculty governance, which includes the processes for hiring, making appointments, and tenure. He said that issue was raised by several faculty members during his interview process.

One of the differences between Haverford and Colgate is the level of athletic competition. Haverford teams are in Division III, while Colgate competes in the more demanding Division I.

Roelofs said he is eager to work with the athletics department on the new scholarship initiative (see January 2004 Scene) to ensure that it is helping coaches in recruiting athletes with the combination of skill in their sport and academic standing necessary for success as scholar-athletes at Colgate.

"Athletics is one of several things that students should consider as activities that help broaden them, make them more complete young adults. It is another playing field, one could say, for achieving excellence," said Roelofs.

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