Daniel Linzer Appointed as Provost
I am pleased to announce that Daniel I. Linzer, dean of the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, has been appointed Provost of Northwestern University, effective September 1.
My pleasure in making this announcement is, of course, tempered by the knowledge that the need for this appointment arose from the recent decision of Provost Lawrence Dumas to step down from this position. As I have written previously, Larry has rendered extraordinary service during his nearly 12 years as Northwestern's chief academic officer. The University generally - and I in particular - are both greatly in his debt. I am confident that Dan Linzer will be guided by the passion, so richly demonstrated by Larry Dumas, to make a great institution still greater and the skill to realize those high ambitions.
As you will recall, in July I asked members of the faculty and staff to write me with their nominations for Provost. I am grateful for the many thoughtful messages received in response to that request. Significantly, a large number of you suggested that I consider appointing Dean Linzer to this position.
I met individually with a number of persons nominated for the position, and those discussions were followed by prospects' meetings with members of the Council of Deans and the President's Staff. Having weighed carefully the perspectives of those colleagues, and having discussed the matter with the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees, I have concluded that Dean Linzer would best fill this important administrative post.
Recipient of a bachelor's degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry from Yale University in 1976 and a PhD in biochemical sciences from Princeton University in 1980, Dan Linzer joined Northwestern in 1984 as an assistant professor. Since 1997 he has been a professor of biochemistry, molecular biology and cell biology, conducting pioneering research on the molecular basis of hormone action. Following four very successful years as Associate Dean, he was appointed Dean of the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences in 2002.
As dean of one of the most complex academic units in the University with over 600 full-time faculty and 400 staff, Dan Linzer has demonstrated extraordinary vision in charting directions for the College and administrative talent in implementing that vision. Over the past five years, the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences has thrived under his leadership. The number of undergraduate applications to the College have increased by more than 60%, and the median SAT score of entering freshmen has gone from 1400 to 1450. New undergraduate programs with high levels of student interest have been developed, including Global Health Studies, the Kaplan Freshman Humanities Scholars Program, and the Kellogg Certificate in Financial Economics. Major changes have been made to the distribution system that expand the curricular choices for breadth in the liberal arts, and support has increased significantly for undergraduate research. Collaborations with the Chicago Botanic Garden, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Field Museum of Natural History, and the Adler Planetarium have increased opportunities for students and faculty. In collaboration with the Graduate School, new programs have been developed in African American Studies and in Religion that are attracting top applicants from across the country, and five year funding of humanities and social science graduate students was implemented.
Dan Linzer has well understood that outstanding educational and research programs require outstanding faculty. Since 2002 the College has recruited a large number of such faculty, including five Board of Trustees professors. The College fellows program was instituted, in which new faculty who have not had the benefit of a postdoctoral period are given the option of joining Northwestern as a fellow for one year before beginning an assistant professorship. In response to the limited opportunities to obtain grants for scholarly projects in the humanities, the College began a humanities faculty research fund to ensure that all faculty have the resources to move their work forward. Initiatives that require new funding have been made possible, in part, by increased fundraising; donations to the College's annual fund have increased more than 20% each of the past two years, and situating these initiatives in College space has been made possible with the opening of several new buildings for the sciences and humanities.
I will be consulting with Dan Linzer regarding the interim leadership of the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences while a national search is initiated for a successor dean; we hope to be able to announce the interim dean appointment shortly. Meanwhile, I am delighted that Dan has agreed to serve as Provost. I am confident that the academic programs of the University will continue to prosper under his leadership and that you will greatly enjoy working with him.
Henry S. Bienen