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Dartmouth Reaches South For Provost

Vanderbilt Scholar Recruited For Key Administrative Post

Dartmouth College has hired Carolyn Dever, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Vanderbilt, to be the next provost. (Vanderbilt University - Daniel Dubois)

Dartmouth College has hired Carolyn Dever, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Vanderbilt, to be the next provost. (Vanderbilt University - Daniel Dubois)

Hanover — A Vanderbilt University dean and expert in Victorian literature and gender studies will be the next provost at Dartmouth College.

Carolyn Dever will come on board as provost July 1, leaving a job she has held for more than five years as the dean of Vanderbilt’s College of Arts and Science.

As provost, Dever will be Dartmouth’s chief academic officer and report directly to President Phil Hanlon. She will play a central role in long-range planning at Dartmouth, including integrating academic and student-life programs. She also will have significant responsibility for the college’s finances, serving as head of the budget committee and helping set the budget priorities and develop the school’s financial plan.

In announcing her hiring Thursday, Hanlon said Dever’s experience as an “administrative leader, classroom teacher, and scholar” and her commitment to the liberal arts would serve Dartmouth well.

“She is an eminent teacher and scholar who brings a depth of experience in higher education administration to this key leadership position,” Hanlon said in a statement.

Dever will take over from Martin Wybourne, who has been the interim provost since July 2012, when former Provost Carol Folt stepped into the interim president’s job after Jim Yong Kim left to be president of the World Bank. Folt left Dartmouth last year to be the chancellor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

As Vanderbilt’s Arts and Science dean, Dever oversaw 45 academic programs and 13 research centers with an annual budget of $180 million. She also was involved in Vanderbilt’s $1.94 billion capital campaign that was completed in June 2011. The Nashville university has 6,835 undergraduate students, according to its website; Dartmouth has 4,200 undergraduates.

Dever said she “eagerly” anticipated working with Hanlon and the Dartmouth community.

“Great institutions such as Dartmouth play a unique role as they balance the twin aims of teaching and discovery, pushing the frontiers while nurturing the potential of young minds,” Dever said in the news release. “I both admire and personally share Dartmouth’s commitment to this mission.”

Dartmouth spokesman Justin Anderson said her salary would be “competitive,” but offered no specifics. Folt was paid $600,0 00 in total compensation as provost in 2011, according to federal tax records.

Since arriving at Vanderbilt in 2000, Dever initiated regional and national partnerships to develop postdoctoral positions in the humanities, according to Dartmouth’s news release. She also created partnerships with several historically black colleges and universities.

Dever stood out among “a deep and rich pool of candidates” for her belief in the power of education to transform lives and to make higher education accessible to promising students, regardless of their financial means,” said Bruce Duthu, who led the search committee for Dartmouth’s provost. Dever was among a dozen candidates that the committee interviewed in person, he said.

Duthu said he appreciated Dever’s efforts at Vanderbilt to reach out to less wealthy schools and share resources, and thought Dever could help boost diversity in the faculty at Dartmouth.

“We’ve got work to do in terms of retaining faculty of color,” Duthu said Thursday. He added that “what really appealed to me (about Dever) is somebody that can reach outside of themselves.”

A Boston College graduate, Dever earned her doctorate at Harvard University and began her academic career at New York University as a member of the English department. She was awarded NYU’s “Golden Dozen” award for undergraduate teaching and led the school’s Summer in London Program. She is the author of two books on literary criticism and gender studies, the latest titled Skeptical Feminism: Activist Theory, Activist Practice, published in 2004. She also has edited two books and is working on several research projects.

Dever had just accepted a second five-year term as Vanderbilt’s Arts and Science dean last year. In announcing her reappointment as dean, Vanderbilt Provost Richard McCarty said Dever had “succeeded in advancing the College of Arts and Science beyond our highest of expectations.” Chris Fleisher can be reached at cfleisher@vnews.com.