Two significant changes to TU’s academic staff were announced via email last week.
The first is that Vice President of Strategic Initiatives Janet Levit, formerly dean of TU Law, will be replacing Roger Blais as Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs.
Blais has served TU since 1977 in the capacity of a physics professor, chair of the physics department, vice provost and provost.
When asked about his plans after retiring, he said he was not exactly sure yet, but “I know spending time with my grandkids is high on the priority list.”
President Clancy sent the following email April 3, announcing the transition:
“After an extensive national search and with the unanimous support of the leadership of the TU Board of Trustees, it is with great excitement that I announce Janet Levit, the university’s vice president for strategic initiatives, has been selected to become TU’s next provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, effective May 7. She will be moving into the role currently held by Roger Blais, who is retiring after more than 40 years at The University of Tulsa and will be greatly missed. The two will begin working together immediately to ensure a smooth transition.
Janet has proven herself a driven leader who sees the big picture and knows how to operationalize ideas and build effective teams. Prior to her role as vice president of strategic initiatives, which began in January 2017, she served as the first female dean of the TU College of Law, where she continues as a professor.
During the past year, Janet has successfully structured and garnered board approval for TU’s five-year strategic plan, charting the next phase in the evolution of the university. The adoption of the plan highlights Janet’s strengths in stakeholder engagement, educational innovation, strategic data analysis and powerful communication skills. Indeed, one of the brightest moments from our recent HLC visit was when we received praise for the strategic plan, which creates a clear path forward for the institution.
Please join me in congratulating Janet. Her scholarly résumé and administration experience make her the ideal fit for this critical job. Plans are being made for Janet to meet with faculty, staff and students as she embraces her new role. I look forward to collaborating with her and each of you as we continue to position TU to meet the challenges of higher education in the 21st century and welcome the opportunities of educating future generations of creative and thoughtful leaders.
I would like to show my appreciation for the members of the provost search committee and Chair Kalpana Misra for their work throughout this process. I also thank Roger who has helped transform TU from a largely commuter college to a Top 100 residential research university.
All of TU’s past advances and future successes would not be possible without incredible commitment from faculty, staff and alumni and engagement from talented students. Together, we will write even greater stories.”
Two days later, Provost Blais sent an email announcing that Dean Gale Sullenberger of the Collins College of Business will be leaving TU effective July 31, 2018. He will be on sabbatical during the 2018-19 academic year.
An interim dean will be named soon pending a search for a new permanent dean.
In the email Blais wrote:
“Gale has served the college with wisdom and grace for 19 years. During that time, the college has made enormous strides in reputation, endowed faculty positions, scholarly productivity, improvements to the building and technology, academic reputation and – above all – the remarkable achievements of the students and alumni. Gale has provided a steady hand during this entire period, constantly maintaining a course of growing excellence. He has been a valuable contributor to the Deans’ Council, not only through teamwork and service, but through thoughtful advice on matters that have benefited the entire university. He has made a lasting mark.
I know you will all join me in congratulating Gale on his service and thanking him for all he has accomplished.”