Vice President for International Affairs David Kennedy '76, who joined the University administration three months ago with the task of raising Brown's global profile, will serve as the interim director of the Watson Institute for International Studies for two years starting this summer.
The move comes after the current director, Barbara Stallings, announced she will step down from that position to focus on her research.
Kennedy, who was a visiting scholar at the Watson Institute last spring and has worked out of Watson's building since arriving as a University vice president in January, will have to balance two demanding jobs. Between the two posts he will provide leadership for Watson's many programs and oversee a slew of University initiatives designed to strengthen Brown's involvement in the global community.
Provost David Kertzer '69 P'95 P'98 said Stallings' decision to step down on June 30 did not leave enough time for an exhaustive national search process that would be necessary to find a permanent replacement. He said asking Kennedy to fill the position for two years, and beginning a national search for a director about a year from now, "seemed to make a certain kind of logical sense."
Stallings said Kennedy was a logical choice to fill the position, and said he had knowledge of "the major issues" at Watson.
"I think it would be difficult to bring someone in from the outside right now," she said.
Kertzer acknowledged that Kennedy would be busy "wearing two hats," but added that he thought Kennedy would be able to do the two jobs successfully by relying more heavily on his staff. Vasuki Nesiah, who was named director of international affairs in February to work alongside Kennedy, would play a critical role in helping him balance his responsibilities.
Kennedy said being asked to serve as the Watson Institute director came as a complete surprise, though he was confident his new responsibilities would fit well with his main job at the University.
"Certainly, it was not on my radar screen, no," he said. But he added that being director would be "a very exciting challenge" and that he saw the Watson Institute as "a terrific piece" of the University's plans for internationalization.
He said there was "a very strong leadership structure already in place" among the Watson faculty - which includes a plethoric assortment of visiting and adjunct faculty and fellows - and that he would be "relying very much" on them to learn how the institute works and can improve.
Emphasizing that Stallings was still the director until the summer, Kennedy said that Watson is "in the middle of a very important transition" and promised to "continue with the agenda that she laid out." He said he would work especially hard to strengthen Watson's integration with the rest of the University, specifically by making joint faculty appointments.
He said Stallings' decision to resign as director, which she announced to Watson faculty last week, came as a surprise but was "very understandable."
Stallings, who has been director since 2006, will step down from that position this summer to return to the Watson's Political Economy of Development Program, which she directed for several years, and to her own work in social and political development, she said.
Kennedy would also inherit the Watson Institute director's fundraising responsibilities, Stallings noted. The Watson Institute operates almost entirely off the return from its endowment, and grows that fund mostly by seeking contributions from wealthy alums.
The institute is named for Thomas Watson Jr. '37, a former chairman of IBM and ambassador to the Soviet Union, who founded a policy development center that was eventually incorporated into the Institute for International Studies.
Before coming to Brown, Kennedy was the director of the European Law Research Center at Harvard Law School. He is an expert on international law and global governance.
Kennedy, whose vice presidential office is slated to move into University Hall next year to be closer to Kertzer and President Ruth Simmons, said that plan has not changed as a result of his Watson appointment.