News, University News

University reorganizes School of Professional Studies

Pre-college programs, summer undergrad courses now separate from SPS

By
Senior Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Both programs moved into the Jewelry District’s Wexford Innovation Center at 225 Dyer St., across the newly built pedestrian bridge.

The University separated its pre-college programs and summer undergraduate courses from the School of Professional Studies Aug. 1.

“Each of these organizations serves distinct populations, has specific academic calendars on which they function and has specific operational and financial needs,” wrote Provost Richard Locke P ’18 in an email to The Herald. “We determined that creating two independent entities would enable both organizations to operate efficiently, effectively and scale successfully in the future.”

The Division of Pre-College and Summer Undergraduate Programs — which includes Summer@Brown and summer courses for current undergraduate students — and the School of Professional Studies are each also under new leadership, the University announced in a press release June 19.

Adrienne Marcus, who served as the associate dean for the programs at SPS, is now the dean for the Division of Pre-College and Summer Undergraduate Programs. She said the separation will allow her division to sharpen its focus and allocate more resources to the work it has been doing for years.

In the past, SPS and the Division of Pre-College and Summer Undergraduate Programs shared staff and resources. Now, “the benefits are that we have our own infrastructures,” Marcus said. “Besides that, we continue to do the work we’re doing.”

Leah VanWey, professor of environment and society and sociology, is now dean of SPS. She previously served as the associate provost for academic space, and will now work with individual academic departments to develop master’s programs with more interdisciplinary focus.

“There’s only so many people who have the fortune to come here as an undergraduate,” VanWey said. “By really focusing on master’s programs,” the University can allow people from all over the world to “benefit from a Brown education,” she added.

VanWey took over the position of dean from Karen Sibley MAT’81 P’07 P’12 P’17, vice president for strategic initiatives who had led SPS since its founding. “I am delighted that Brown’s professional master’s and pre-college programs have the full support of the University,” Sibley said in the press release. She declined to speak with The Herald.

In August, the two organizations moved their offices to the Wexford Innovation Center at 225 Dyer Street, which opened in the Jewelry District this summer, The Herald previously reported. The Innovation Center is also home to the University’s biomedical master’s degree programs, as well as Johnson and Johnson, Cambridge Innovation Center , Venture Cafe and its District Hall.

The relocation “provides an opportunity for Brown to continue to be a catalyst for economic growth and development in this important area of the city — and is further evidence of our commitment to contributing to the innovation economy in Providence and R.I.,” Locke wrote in an email to The Herald.

Marcus said “it’s great being in this building because it serves all of our needs. When we were in the old building across the street, our staff (was) too big to be in one space.”