University News

Summer months see administrative reshuffling

Colvin, Klawunn step down, as Locke becomes fourth provost in six academic years

University News Editor
Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Three years since Christina Paxson P’19 assumed the presidency at Brown, her senior staff continues to undergo significant turnover with two top administrators leaving their posts in recent months.

Vicki Colvin stepped down as provost June 30 after only one year in the role, remaining a professor of chemistry and engineering and clearing the way for Richard Locke, director of the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, to become the University’s 13th provost July 1.

Locke was a finalist in the 2014 search that led to Colvin’s hiring.

Colvin’s tenure as provost lasted just a year before stepping down to “engage in more substantial scholarship,” according to a University press release.

As provost, she helped launch the Summer B-Lab — an entrepreneurship incubator for students — created a position to oversee digital education, alumni programming and other strategic initiatives and helped bring together the Deficit Reduction Working Group to resolve the University’s budget deficit. She also advanced arts programs at Brown, establishing a new vice provost for the arts position and advocating the construction of a new performing arts space.

Locke, the fourth provost in six academic years, was swiftly chosen as her successor, with Paxson praising his leadership in transforming the Watson Institute. He oversaw the integration of the Taubman Center for Public Policy and American Institutions, fundraising efforts amounting to over $35 million, the creation of a new postdoctoral fellowship program and an increase in the number of Watson faculty members, Paxson wrote in a community-wide email.

Locke also co-chaired the Deficit Reduction Working Group. He will continue to serve as the Watson Institute’s director until a replacement is found.

A month after the Provost’s Office changed hands, then-Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services Margaret Klawunn left the University to become vice chancellor for student affairs at the University of California at Santa Barbara. The University has not been as quick to find Klawunn’s permanent successor as it was Colvin’s — MaryLou McMillan ’85 and Mary Grace Almandrez are currently serving as interim assistant vice presidents for campus life and student services. Klawunn’s family ties to the University of California system informed her decision to seek the new job, she told The Herald in June.

In her 19 years at Brown, Klawunn headed the Office of Student Life. Her tenure saw major changes to student services, including those at Health Services, Counseling and Psychological Services and the LGBTQ Center, as well as the renovation and expansion of many campus facilities. She also worked closely with student groups and centers.

In recent years, Klawunn oversaw controversial campus decisions, including the resolution of Lena Sclove’s sexual assault case and the handling of last year’s alleged drugging of two students and the alleged sexual assault of one of the two that same night.

Correction: A previous version of this article referred to the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs by its former name, the Watson Institute for International Studies. The Herald regrets the error.



  1. Botshet Klaug says:

    This article is a euphemism. Writers of earlier BDH articles portrayed how people have been jumping ship from Chris Paxson, who is ineffective as Brown University president. But believe me, those who leave are not paragons of effectiveness or ethics either. They all deserve each other, whether they are together or apart.

  2. A gift of $100 million a year to

    We would like to
    give $100 million per year to Brown. This money could be used to offset tuition
    fees, pay professors more, and support Brown’s current budget, which is in
    deficit. We have proposed this to
    Christina Paxson and several leaders within Brown’s administration.

    We in Northern
    California have created a plan to significantly increase Brown’s
    revenues. We are students from
    before birth, and remain students until we die. Those who are fortunate
    enough to attend Brown bring their own experiences and relationships with them.
    Our proposal outlines how Brown can participate in the learning process
    for high school students, with a goal of exposing students to Brown professors
    and students, developing and reinforcing a Brown-student relationship well
    before the admissions process begins.

    The key benefits to
    Brown are:

    1. Brown can
    add $100 million in revenues by teaching AP courses.

    2. This program would
    benefit both high-income and low-income high school students, as well as local
    teachers, Brown professors and Brown students (as paid

    3. This gives you Brown
    to increase student acceptance
    rate (now at 60%) and improve the number of high-potential poor
    students (a key target).

    proposal outlines a plan for Brown to offer AP courses in select schools,
    starting with Northern California. These
    courses would be co-taught by the local AP teacher and Brown professor,
    assisted by Brown students acting as proctors.
    The goals of the program are:

    1. To offer the students a compelling, interesting and
    informative set of courses.

    2. To expose promising high school students to Brown professors
    and students.

    3. To give Brown visibility on promising students who may
    become good candidates to attend Brown.

    4. To support schools which may need
    teaching resources in inner-city and poorer school districts, and support their
    local efforts.

    fundamental principles of this program are that (1) it must be financially
    self-supporting, (2) it offers a first-class educational experience that is
    rewarding for Brown students and professors as well as students, and (3) that
    it works in concert with local resources, with full backing of the high

    is offered

    The educational product would consist of the following:

    A set of internet lectures using
    the Khan Academy format on AP subjects, given by a professor at Brown.
    These lectures are normally watched by the students online at home
    (as homework).

    A set of exercises and questions
    which are answered by the students during class time.

    A teaching guide for the local AP
    teacher. The teacher uses this guide and assists students in class
    to answer questions and do exercises.

    Tests to be proctored by the local
    AP teacher which are submitted for grading to Brown students assisting the
    professor (Brown students are paid for this course assistance). Results
    are then shared with the AP teacher and Brown (for certification).

    If applicable, online textbooks as
    a part of the educational offering.

    will pay?

    those who have the greatest stakes in the education of students: parents,
    teachers, guidance counselors, who are willing and able to pay. “Rich”
    schools’ parents pay for their child’s certificate. Some scholarships
    offered. “Poor” schools parents pay, but with a great deal more
    scholarship assistance.

    are the target markets?

    the world. The “freemium” model can be disseminated on YouTube and used
    by millions. The “certificate” model is also freely expandable (same
    professor, more Brown student proctors).

    much effort is involved?

    A Khan
    Academy format requires very little professor time and effort. With a
    virtual “blackboard” and voiceover, the professor can video a series of
    lectures based on his/her Brown classroom offerings.

    school students in the “certified” program will require support. This
    would be provided by Brown students working at the direction of a Brown
    professor. These students’ main tasks would include grading courses,
    answering teachers’ and students’ questions, and monitoring feedback.


    scholarships administered by Brown in collaboration with local guidance counselors.

    We have shared the
    entire plan, with revenues and costs, with top members of the administration at
    Brown. It is also available for public
    view at

    So, what’s stopping
    us? Let’s make this happen.

    John Lonergan AB 72, Harvard MBA 76, Venture Capitalist, San Francisco

  3. Concerned GS alum says:

    Meanwhile, a hugely unpopular and ineffective Dean of the Graduate School stays in post, a reappointment which the University leadership didn’t even bother to announce to the Brown community, in a snub to Brown’s hard working graduate students, and revealing a disturbing lack of conviction by those at the top to publicly stand by this decision.

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