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Summer months see administrative reshuffling

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

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.



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