Three Universities Appoint Black Scholars to Provost Positions

Francine Conway will be chancellor-provost of the New Brunswick campus of Rutgers University in New Jersey. This new position combines elements of the chancellor’s portfolio with those of the provost’s to establish a clear focus on academic excellence for students and faculty.

A native of Guyana, Dr. Conway previously served as dean of the Graduate School of Applied Psychology. She was the first Black scholar to hold that position. Dr. Conway joined the faculty at Rutgers in 2016. From 2008 to 2016, she was chair of the psychology program at Adelphi University in Garden City, New York. Her research is focused on the psychology of aging and on child psychopathology.

Dr. Conway is a graduate of Cornell University. She earned a master’s degree at Columbia University and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Adelphi University.

John D. Jones is the new provost and vice president of academic affairs at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. Dr. Jones has been serving as associate vice president for academic affairs and dean of graduate studies at Alabama A&M University. Earlier in his career, Dr. Jones served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri.

“I look forward to joining the work at historic Fisk University,” Dr. Jones said. “The opportunity to contribute to and perpetuate the incredible legacy of this institution is quite humbling.”

Dr. Jones holds a bachelor’s degree from Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina. He earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in education administration and higher education leadership at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Melissa L. Gilliam has been appointed executive vice president and provost at Ohio State University, effective August 1. She will be the first African American woman to serve as provost at the university. She has been serving as vice provost, the Ellen H. Block Distinguished Service Professor of Health Justice, and professor of obstetrics and gynecology and pediatrics at the University of Chicago. In the past, she has also served as dean of diversity and inclusion for the Biological Sciences Division at University of Chicago Medicine. Since 2012, she has been the founding director of the school’s Center for Interdisciplinary Inquiry and Innovation in Sexual and Reproductive Health.

“The opportunity to work closely with President Johnson and one of the most respected and academically robust academic communities in the world is a dream come true,” Dr. Gilliam said. “I look forward to engaging with the entire Ohio State community, especially the outstanding faculty, staff, students, and partners that drive our academic mission.”

Dr. Gilliam holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Yale University, She earned a master’s degree in philosophy and politics at the University of Oxford in England and a medical doctorate at Harvard University. She also holds a master of public health degree from the University of Illinois Chicago.

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